National Assembly passes a bill to establish the Education Bank for student loans
The National Assembly’s two chambers have passed the Students Loan Bill, which would increase access to financial aid for students in higher education institutions.
The bill sponsored by speaker of the house of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, has the title ‘A Bill for an Act to provide for easy access to higher education for Nigerians through interest-free loans from the Nigerian Education Bank established in this Act with a view to providing education for all Nigerians and for other purposes connected thereto.’
The bill proposes the establishment of the Nigerian Education Bank, which will have the authority to supervise, coordinate, administer, and monitor the management of student loans in Nigeria, as well as receive applications for student loans through higher education institutions in Nigeria on behalf of applicants, screen the applications, and ensure that all requirements for the grant of such loans under the Act are met.
The bank shall also have the powers to approve and disburse the loan to qualified applicants; control, monitor and coordinate the students’ loan account/fund and ensure compliance in respect of disbursement; monitor academic records of grantees of the loan to obtain information on their year of graduation, national service, employment to ensure that grantees of the loan commence repayment of the loan as at when due, among other functions.
The bill also provides that notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in other enactments, all students seeking higher education in any public institution of higher learning in Nigeria shall have an equal right to access the loan under this Act without any discrimination arising from gender, religion, tribe, position or disability of any kind.
The House of Representatives passed the bill earlier this year and forwarded it to the Senate for concurrence. With the Senate’s concurrence, a clean copy would be produced and transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent. Once it is signed into law, Nigerian students would begin accessing the loans.