Rivers Students Appeal To FG Over Criteria For The Students’ Loan

Students in the tertiary institutions in Rivers State are expressing joy following the passage of the students loan bills by the National Assembly. A cross section of the students who spoke with our reporters however demanded for transparency in issuing the loan when the bill is assented to by the president, Bola Tinubu. They said the loan will be beneficial to them because there are lots of things they need to do with the money like paying their school fees, buying text books, venturing into small scale businessess among others.

Speaking with a second year accounting student at the University of Port Harcourt, Blessing Akachi, she said the loan will be helpful especially for students with low financial backing. Adding that the student loan would improve career prospectus and personal development considering that the cost of education could be a significant barrier for many students. She however said that it is ridiculous to get people from the ministry who have twelve years experience. And also stating that repayment of students loan could sometimes be challenging as getting a job after NYSC is usually difficult.

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On his part, the president, Student Union Government at the Rivers State University Abinye Omubo-Pepple says many students are unable to access funds to pay for their school fees and receive the necessary education they are suppose to receive, and this loan according to him stands to benefit Nigerian students from all works of life to be able to receive basic education in the university. He said the rule to initiate loan recovery efforts, two years after the completion of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program may not be possible due to lack of jobs in the country. Stressing that the criteria for this student loan scheme are exorbitant and as such, those on the lower end of income that their parent can be simple farmers and traders may not be able to access this loan.

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The Student Union President of the Rivers State University, however, call on the Federal Government to reconsider the criteria for this loan as it seems to be insensitive and does not reflect the interest on those that are on the lower end of interest.
You would recall that president Bola Tinubu had on June 2023, signed the Access to Higher Education Act 2024 into law to enable indigent students to access interest free loan for their educational pursuits in any Nigerian tertiary institution.

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By Nzeuzor Jane, Port Harcourt