Nigerians Fault Requirements For Accessing FG's Student Loan

Nigerians Reject Requirements For Accessing Student Loan

8 mins read

By Blessing Amarachi Azoribe

Reactions have continued to trail the student loan scheme recently introduced by the Federal Government, especially the requirements for accessing it.

The loan which was meant to help Nigerian students in tertiary institutions mitigate their financial challenges, was signed into law by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on 12 June 2023.

Titled Access to Higher Education Act 2023, its provisions apply to all matters pertaining to the application and granting of loans to Nigerians seeking to fund their education in higher institutions of learning in the country.

According to the provisions of the Act, the loan which will be domiciled with, and managed by the Central Bank of Nigeria through the deposit money banks, is only for the payment of tuition fees.

READ ALSO: 8 Key Facts About The Student Loan Law In Nigeria

It stipulates that the applicant must provide at least two guarantors and each of the guarantors shall be a civil servant of level 12 in active service; a lawyer with at least 10 years post-call to bar experience, a judicial officer, or a justice of peace. It also requires that applicants must already be a student in any university, polytechnic, college of education, or any vocational school established by the federal or state government.

It also specifies that the family income of the applicants must be less than ₦500,000 per annum.

The law also states that an applicant shall be disqualified if found to have defaulted on any previous loan by any organisation; found guilty of examination malpractice by their institution; convicted of a felony or any offence involving dishonesty or fraud, and drug-related offences.

Many Nigerians are, however, yet to know much about the scheme. In an interview with Prime Business Africa, some traders at Kenyatta Market, Enugu, expressed dissatisfaction with the stringent requirements in the Act that mandate applicants to provide a high-ranking civil servant, and a senior lawyer as guarantor, among others, before one can access the loan. They said the condition is meant to sideline the poor who may not be able to meet the requirements.

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“I am just hearing about the student loan for the first time, I have children that are supposed to be in school. Where do I find a civil servant with level 12 or even a lawyer practicing for 10 years please I don’t want it,” a groundnut seller, Mrs Uchechi Ebo stated.


When asked if the move was a nice one by the government here is what another trader said: “The move is really a nice one for whoever wants to go to school. The program is a nice one since the applicant will be given a duration of time to pay back the money without interest, it’s a nice one if it will be implemented.”

The trader, however, added that the loan scheme would have been a wonderful one if jobs were available to enable students to start work immediately after graduation and be able to repay the loan.

“Most of the civil servants who have passed the year of retirement are still there, they even keep it till their children are of age to occupy those positions. Is the government calculating enough? How do they get job immediately after NYSC? Do we have a good standard of living in this country? I don’t think the government is ready to help us,” Mrs Ogochukwu, a foodstuff seller lamented.

While some applaud the scheme as a good one, others see it differently.
Another trader in the market, Mrs Ngene Nwadiogwu expressed fear that politicians might hijack the scheme for their families and cronies and not allow the downtrodden access to it.

She also echoed the concern that many who are on the lower rung of the socioeconomic ladder may not be able to meet the requirements.

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“As far as I am concerned that bill or act is not meant for the downtrodden and the indigents. Why do they require guarantors to apply for the loan? How will they be able to access these persons listed under the act? Is the government even ready to provide jobs for the students when they are done learning?

“Do these politicians need guarantors to access loans they squander? Obviously, they don’t. Do you remember during the lockdown; the palliatives that were meant to be shared among the people were hoarded and divided by the politicians?

“Even in the Western world, they don’t require guarantors, because they have your details and they provide job opportunities for you when you are done schooling so you can pay back gradually. When the government is ready to help the people we will know,” Mrs Nwadiogwu added.

Two young boys grinding melon in the market, who didn’t want to be named queried why the government should make the option of going to prison as a penalty for default on repayment of the loan.

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“Why should prison be a penalty for defaulting? We want to go to school but have no money and that is why we are here working. We were happy hearing about the loan at first but with all the requirements we don’t think we are among those the government has in mind to help,” one of them commented.

Another trader, who identified himself as Mr Nwabueze said the government should be giving grants to indigent people, not loans because job opportunities are scarce.

“Instead of a loan why not give student grants? I have two of my children in university now and I must say it is not easy. How will they get jobs to pay back? My stand remains that students should be given grants instead of loan since there is no job opportunities ready for those children to be able to pay back what is loaned,” Mr Nwabueze stated.

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“Nigerian government keep your loan, instead return back the tuition fee to the way it used to be. Remove those percentages that were added and then our children can go back to school, the government is not really ready to help,” Mrs Obiageri commented.

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Blessing Amarachi Azoribe, PBA Journalism Mentee
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