The student loan Act is one of the laws assented to by President Tinubu upon his assumption of office. Recall that one of his manifesto is to make education accessible to all . There is already a provision for free education from Primary school to secondary school level in line with Universal Basic Education Act.The Student loan bill was sponsored by Femi Gbajabiamila, the former speaker of the House of representatives.
The notable provisions in the Act.
1.A new bank will be established called Nigerian Education Bank and shall have branches all over the states. This is contained in section 5 of the Act
2. To be eligible for the loan. The applicants must meet the following conditions
(i) must have secured admission into one of the Nigerian Universities, polytechnics, colleges of education or any vocational school established by the Federal Government or the Government of the state of federation
(ii) The annual income of the applicant or his family must be less than #500,000 per year.
(iii) The applicants must provide at least two guarantors each of the guarantor must be a civil servant of not less than 12 years in the service; or a lawyer with at least 10 years post call experience; a judicial officer or a justice of peace. Section 18 of the Act
3. Any student that is guilty of exam malpractice, convicted of an offence involving dishonesty or fraud and drug offences will be disqualified from accessing the loan. Section 19 of the Act
4. Non-repayment of the previous loan by the applicant or the parent is a ground for disqualification. Section 19 of the Act.
5 . The loan covers only the tuition fee. Section 3 of the Act.
6. The repayment of the loan will start 2 years after completion of the NYSC . Section 22 of the Act
7. The repayment will be by way of 10percent deduction from the salary or if he is self employed 10 percent of his income monthly. Section 22 of the Act.
8. Any student that is aiding the default of any provision of the Act is guilty of an offence and upon conviction liable to imprisonment for two years or a fine of #500,000 or both.
Student Loan Act is a laudable development that deserves an applause from Nigerian. However, the requirement for two guarantors can be a very stringent condition to be met by the students. Some indigent students may find it pretty difficult to get those caliber of people as their guarantors.
The Act is also silent on Nigerians who do not get a job two years after NYSC but prescribes a two-year jail term for loan defaulters.