Nigerian Foreign Students Not Part Of Loan Scheme – FG

The Nigerian Education Loan Fund has confirmed that Nigerian students studying abroad were ineligible for the newly introduced student loan scheme.

The NELFUND’s Managing Director, Akintunde Sawyerr, disclosed this information on Friday.

The Access to Higher Education Act, 2023, signed into law by President Bola Tinubu on 12th of June, aims to provide interest-free loans to indigent students attending Nigerian tertiary institutions.

The move is in line with Tinubu’s campaign promise to enhance education funding. Dele Alake, a member of the former Presidential Strategy Team, noted the significance of this legislation in making education more accessible.

Following a briefing from NELFUND led by Minister of State for Education, Dr Yusuf Sununu, on 22nd of January, the President instructed the Fund to extend interest-free loans to students pursuing skill-development programmes.

Despite these delays, the scheme has seen significant interest, with 30,000 students successfully registering and over 60,000 individuals signing up on the NELFUND website.

However, on 22nd of May, 2024, a group of Nigerian students at Teesside University were expelled from their courses and ordered to leave the United Kingdom due to difficulties in paying their tuition fees on time, according to a BBC report.

The students cited the devaluation of the naira as a significant barrier to meeting their financial obligations, which has led to a breach of their visa sponsorship requirements.

Nevertheless, Sawyerr clarified that the loan scheme was exclusively for students studying within Nigeria.

“Nigerians in Diaspora cannot benefit from the student loan. Nigerians schooling in the country are those we want to help. The law does not allow the FG to give loans to Nigerians studying abroad,” he stated.

Criticising the exclusion of Nigerian students in foreign institutions from the recently introduced student loan scheme, the National Mobilisation Officer, Education Rights Campaign, Adaramoye Lenin, stated that this exclusion highlighted the inadequacy of the scheme in addressing the educational needs of Nigerian students.

He argued that the government was using the loan scheme to avoid properly funding public education, instead shifting the financial burden onto students.


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