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Swayerr: Nigeria’s Student Loan Scheme Will Be in Phases, Starting With Federal Institutions 

“The fund covers 100% of all the fees of tertiary institutions. There’s also upkeep for the student,” Sawyerr said.

Managing Director, Nigerian Education Loan Fund, Akintunde Swayerr has stated that the student loan application portal will be opened on the 24th of May for loan applications.

Speaking in an interview with ARISE NEWS on Thursday, Swayerr said they are currently “in the midst of a sensitization campaign to begin to let Nigerian how the scheme will work.”

He explained that the loan scheme seeks to bridge financing gap for students in Nigeria enabling them to become more resourceful, eventually aiding the country

“On the 3rd of April 2024, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu signed into law a monumental act that seeks to bridge the financing gap for applicants who wants to get a higher education that is tertiary level and who wants to get vocational training to get proper qualifications that enables them to be more marketable and useful to the Nigerian society.

“The fund covers 100 percent of all the fees of tertiary institutions. There’s also upkeep for the student.”

Swayerr noted that this plan will be rolled out in schemes and the first being the public institutions because of the large number of students in that sector requiring financial aid.

“We’re going to roll this plan out in phases. The first phrase will be with federal institutions then to others. It’s going to be the public sector at the beginning because that’s where we find the bulk of students that perhaps need the financing cover and are most vulnerable. We have a system that hopefully makes this have national spread and some degree of equal opportunities for those who have the desire, capacity, eligibility to engage in this scheme.”

While explaining the modalities of the online application, he said, “we’re going to open the portal for applicants on the 24th of May, so those who want to apply can. It doesn’t mean they get it that day it just means they can apply and begin to understand what the process, then after that there will be an evaluation for those who have qualified for the loan, then an approval will be given for those who qualified.

“The application allows them to create an individual account where they can go online to see their loan status. Then they get a letter within 30 days telling them whether they are eligible or not, if they are eligible we will disperse the loan directly to the institution, when the course begins.”

Further speaking on the process of evaluation of the application he said, “The application is open to everyone, we’ll do an evaluation and whatever data we have that helps us determine the neediest, we’ll use it to make judgments. 

“When application begins to come in, we will turn the information to intelligence and use the intelligence for decision making.

“It is an online IT application and will include their JAMB number, NIN, BVN, admission number, matriculation number…the BVN is that we’ll be able to make some determination as to how much money they have in their accounts, there’s also a declaration that they will state how much of a need they have. It’s a loan and not a grant.”

The loan scheme states that the student is to repay the loan 2 years after National Youth Service, but due to the rate of unemployment amongst youth, he shed light on the provisions made.

“It’s 2 years after NYSC for repayment. In the event that you find yourself 2 years after NYSC and you don’t have a job, you can’t oblige people to pay for loans when they’re not working. This law does not seek to criminalise people. We seek to encourage people to take the loan.

“In cases of unemployment, what it does do is that when you get a job 2 years post NYSC, the employer is the one obligated to make deductions having checked the register to pay it back. 

“In the event when they are self-employed then they’re obliged to make a self declaration and make voluntary payment back to the loan scheme.

“The installment payment back to the fund will be a percentage of what they’re earning, probably around 10 percent.”

He urged students seeking for the loan to do research, ask the right questions and reach out for clarifications.

Nancy Mbamalu

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