Home News National Assembly passes student loan bill, proposes jail for defaulters

National Assembly passes student loan bill, proposes jail for defaulters



The National Assembly has passed the Student Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, 2024.
This comes after separate considerations by both the Senate and the House of Representatives of the report of the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFund.
President Bola Tinubu has written a letter to the Senate to sought the repeal of the existing law and submitted a fresh bill to be passed into law.
This request came after the announcement of a temporary suspension of the commencement of the student loan scheme which would allow students of tertiary institutions access interest-free loans to complete their various studies.
The President had in June 2023 signed the Student Loan Bill into law to enable Nigerian students to access loans at interest-free rates.
The Senate, thereafter, passed a Bill for an Act to Repeal the Students Loan and Access to Higher Education Act 2023 and enact the Student Loans Access to Higher Education Bill 2024.
The student loan scheme was scheduled to take off but the Presidency decided to make some amendments to the bill before implementation which the Senate gave expeditious consideration in plenary.
The amendments sought to the Act by President Bola Tinubu, according to an explanatory memorandum made available to reporters, included the removal of the family income threshold as a condition for applying for the student loan.
It also removed the guarantor requirement so that students can apply for and receive loans subject to application and identity verification guidelines as provided by the Fund.
Besides, student applicants can no longer be disqualified based on their parent’s loan history.
It established a justice and fairness provision, mandating the board to ensure a minimum national spread of loans approved and disbursed in each financial year.
On repayment of loans, the bill indicated that the repayment shall begin as soon as the beneficiary becomes employed in any capacity or establishment.