NANS PRESIDENT URGES A REVISION OF STUDENT LOAN ACT, CALLS FOR EXTENDED REPAYMENT PERIOD

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The President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Usman Barambu, has appealed to the House of Representatives to amend the Student Loan Act to facilitate easier access for Nigerian students. Speaking at a legislative summit on student loans and access to higher education organized by an ad-hoc committee in Abuja, Barambu emphasized the need for inclusivity and fair representation in the management of the Students’ Loan Board.

Barambu highlighted the absence of student representation on the board; advocating for the involvement of polytechnics and colleges of education in addition to the National Universities Commission (NUC). According to the current Act, students are expected to repay their loans two years after completing their mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program. However, Barambu suggested that this repayment timeline should be extended to 4 to 5 years for better financial stability post-graduation.

In addition, he pointed out the lack of provision for loan forgiveness in cases of defaulters’ death, particularly concerning security officers. Barambu further expressed concern about the criteria for loan guarantors, as many students may not be able to fulfill these requirements.

Representing the Speaker of the House, Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, Deputy Speaker Rep. Benjamin Kalu commended the Student Loan Act as a transformational legislation. He highlighted the legislative responsibility to ensure quality education, enact relevant laws, allocate resources, and oversee policy implementation.

Kalu noted that the Act was initiated to facilitate access to credit facilities for quality higher education; addressing the financial barriers faced by deserving students. He acknowledged the rising cost of tuition, accommodation, and educational materials; which limit educational opportunities for many students. The Student Loan Act seeks to mitigate these challenges by offering financial support to deserving students.

The Deputy Speaker emphasized that the legislative intention is to expand opportunities for Nigerians aspiring to receive quality education. He highlighted the summit’s purpose in gathering expert opinions to enhance the Student Loan Act, ensuring it aligns with the goal of accessible and equitable education.

Kalu expressed concerns that the Act’s current conditions might hinder its positive intent. The summit aimed to gather insights from stakeholders to improve the Act and foster a conducive environment for quality higher education in Nigeria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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