The Nigerian Federal Government has given approval for interest-free loans to be given to Nigerian students.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu signed the Student Loan Bill into law, fulfilling his campaign promise to support the education sector and empower young people. The bill, passed by the national assembly in November 2022, aims to provide financial assistance to students in tertiary institutions.
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Adejuwon Emmanuel Olatunji, the Coordinator of NANS Zone D (Southwest), expressed support for the Student Loan Bill, highlighting its potential to help students whose parents cannot afford tuition fees.
However, there are concerns about repayment. Many graduates struggle to find employment immediately after completing their studies, and the loan repayment period begins two years after completing the NYSC (National Youth Service Corps) program.
Questions have been raised about how graduates without jobs after two years will repay the loan and what penalties will be imposed on defaulters.
NANS member Yusuf Wasiu Olamilekan commended the government for fulfilling its campaign promise. The introduction of student loans was seen as a positive step.
According to Mrs. Temitope, student loans can make a significant difference by removing financial barriers to education.
They provide quick and easy access to funds, covering tuition fees, accommodation, textbooks, and equipment.
Repayment starts only after completing studies, giving students the flexibility to focus on their education without immediate financial burdens.
Mr. Adesoji, the proprietor of Veracity College in Ogun State, praised the President’s decision, emphasizing the importance of a functional Nigeria. He hoped for the continuation of positive developments.
However, a teacher named Mr. Salami raised concerns about the feasibility of loan repayment due to a lack of job opportunities.
He mentioned the challenges of obtaining student loans from Nigerian banks, suggesting that the loan application process is arduous and time-consuming.
Overall, the introduction of interest-free student loans in Nigeria has been met with a mixture of support and concerns.
While the loans have the potential to improve access to education and empower students, there are worries about repayment and the availability of job opportunities for graduates.
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