Student Loan Programme Launch, Benefiting 1.2 Million Students

By Funmi Ojo

The Managing Director and CEO of the Nigeria Education Loan Fund Akintunde Sawyerr, has announced that the much-anticipated students loan programme will commence this Friday, benefiting 1.2 million students enrolled in federal tertiary institutions across Nigeria.

In a press briefing held in Abuja on Monday, Sawyerr detailed the first phase of the programme, which will aid students in federal universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, and technical colleges.

According to the National Universities Commission, Nigeria has 226 federal tertiary institutions, that include 62 universities, 41 polytechnics, 96 monotechnics, and 27 colleges of education.

President Bola Tinubu signed the Students Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, 2024, into law on April 3, following approval from both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

This Act established the Nigerian Education Loan Fund, which provides financial aid to eligible Nigerian students for tuition, fees, charges, and living expenses during their studies at accredited public tertiary institutions and vocational schools.

Emphasising educational inclusivity, President Tinubu affirmed that every Nigerian, regardless of socio-economic status, deserves access to quality education for a brighter future.

The scheme, initially scheduled for a September launch, was delayed due to Tinubu’s directive to expand its scope to include vocational skills training.

Last Thursday, the Nigerian Education Loan Fund announced that the official portal for loan applications will open on May 24.

Sawyerr encouraged students in federal tertiary institutions to apply through the website www.nelf.gov.ng starting May 24, with provisions for students in state universities and vocational centers to apply at a later date.

Application requirements include a JAMB admission letter, National Identity Number, Bank Verification Number, and completed application forms available on the Fund’s website.

The loan application process is designed to be user-friendly and entirely online, eliminating the need for physical interaction between applicants and NELFUND. Successful applicants will receive interest-free loans and monthly stipends for living expenses, with tuition fees disbursed directly to the institutions per session.

The Fund collaborates with educational institutions and security agencies to ensure data accuracy and prevent fraudulent activities.

In related news, the Federal Government has urged state governments to responsibly utilise matching grants allocated for Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) programmes, with emphasis on transparency and integrity in financial management.

Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, the Executive Secretary of UBEC, stressed the importance of professional competence among financial officers to ensure accountability and optimise service delivery in basic education.

Bobboyi highlighted ongoing training initiatives aimed at enhancing financial practices and ensuring adherence to established guidelines, crucial for safeguarding government funds allocated for basic education interventions.

Participants were encouraged to fully participate in the training and apply the acquired knowledge to improve accounting practices, underscoring the importance of compliance with financial regulations to foster accountability and transparency.

Meanwhile, a new sanction regime has been implemented to strengthen financial management standards, focusing on responsible fund management and adherence to due process, as emphasized by Adamu Misau, Director of Finance and Accounts at UBEC.

About Funmilayo Ojo

Funmilayo Ojo is a Mass Communication Graduate. She is a prolific writer and a journalist who is gifted in Media works. She is also a business tycoon. She is currently the Regional Editor, of Southwest National Telescope Newspaper. She is happily married to Femi and they are blessed with lovely kids. Email: sweditor@nationaltelescope.com

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