Senate Passes Student Loan Act 2024

By Milcah Tanimu

The Senate has approved the Student Loans Access to Higher Education Act (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, 2024, following deliberations on a report from the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), presented by Sen. Mohammed Muntari of Katsina South.

This development comes after the bill successfully passed its second reading last week.

President Bola Tinubu recently communicated with both the Senate and the House of Representatives, advocating for the repeal of the existing Student Loan (Access to Higher Education) Bill and the enactment of a new one.

The newly passed act aims to bolster the implementation of the Higher Education Student Loan Scheme by addressing various challenges, including the management structure of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELF), eligibility criteria for applicants, loan purposes, funding sources, as well as disbursement and repayment procedures.

This action from President Tinubu follows the temporary suspension of the student loan system’s commencement. The law was initially designed to provide Nigerian students in tertiary institutions with access to low-interest loans to facilitate the completion of their studies.

Additionally, the Senate debated a motion sponsored by Sen. Adebule Oluranti of Lagos West, which emphasized the urgent need to address the issue of out-of-school children in Nigeria. Sen. Oluranti highlighted the UNESCO statistics estimating the current number of out-of-school children in Nigeria at 20 million, stressing the necessity for significant reduction.

During the debate, Sen. Oshiomhole urged the Senate to compel the appropriate agency to publish the percentage of out-of-school children in each state. This move would particularly expose state governments that, due to misplaced priorities, contribute to the perpetuation of this issue, thereby endangering the collective welfare of citizens.


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