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Nigerian Student Body, NANS, Calls for Amendment of Student Loan Act

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ABUJA, Nigeria – The National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, is pushing for crucial amendments to the Student Loan Act, which was signed into law by President Bola Tinubu in June, 2023.

The legislation was initially aimed at alleviating the financial barriers young Nigerians face seeking access to higher education.

Speaking at a legislative summit organized by the house ad hoc committee in Abuja on Thursday, August 24, 2023, NANS president, Usman Barambu, made a strong case for a more inclusive representation on the student loan board.

Specifically, he called for including representatives from polytechnics and colleges of education and the National University Commission, NUC.

“Student loans are for us, yet no student representation is on the board. The board only captured NUC, sidelining polytechnic and colleges of education, which should all be included for fairness and equity,” Barambu said.

The Student Loan Act was initially sponsored by Femi Gbajabiamila, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, to address the financial hardships that prevent young Nigerians from receiving quality higher education.

While the act has been celebrated as a step in the right direction, NANS believes it falls short in certain aspects.

Barambu also argued for a more lenient repayment plan for the beneficiaries of the loan scheme.

“Most students will not be able to find their ground financially two years after graduation, therefore, the payment method should be revised to four to five years,” he noted.

Furthermore, the NANS president urged lawmakers to include provisions for loan forgiveness in specific scenarios such as the death of the loan recipient.

These calls for amendment underline the importance of making student loans more accessible and fair, not just for university students but for all forms of higher education in Nigeria.

As the country continues to struggle with issues related to unemployment and underemployment among graduates, the availability and structure of student loans could play a significant role in shaping the educational and economic landscape.

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