Senate Passes 2024 Student Loan Act Following Presidential Initiative

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The Senate has passed the Student Loans Access to Higher Education Act (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, 2024,

The passage followed the consideration of a report from the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), presented by Chairman Sen,Mohammed Muntari representing Katsina South. .

President Bola Tinubu initiated the move for the bill’s repeal and enactment, addressing challenges in the implementation of the Higher Education Student Loan Scheme.

Meanwhile, The new act aims to revamp the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELF) management structure, refine applicant eligibility criteria, specify loan purposes, clarify funding sources, and streamline disbursement and repayment procedures.

Tinubu’s action followed the temporary suspension of the student loan system, designed to provide low-interest loans to Nigerian tertiary students.

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This suspension prompted a national discourse, including a motion sponsored by Sen. Adebule Oluranti representing Lagos West, highlighting the urgency to address the issue of out-of-school children in Nigeria.

During debates, lawmakers underscored the need for decisive action to reduce the staggering number of out-of-school children, estimated at 20 million according to UNESCO statistics. Sen. Oshiomhole emphasized the importance of transparency in revealing the percentage of out-of-school children in each state, holding accountable governments that neglect education priorities.

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However,In response to the pressing issue, the Senate resolved to urge judiciaries across all 36 states to establish mobile courts for enforcing the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act.

Additionally, the Senate mandated its education committee to collaborate with the Ministry of Education to formulate strategies for reducing the number of out-of-school children, setting a two-year timeline for implementing the UBE Act.

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