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Students’ loan not automatic for all public institutions’ students — MD, NELFUND

The Managing Director\CEO of the Federal Government’s newly established Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND), Mr Akintunde Sawyerr, has declared that the loan facilities are conditional for students to access.
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The Managing Director\CEO of the Federal Government’s newly established Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND), Mr Akintunde Sawyerr, has declared that the loan facilities are conditional for students to access.

He also established that students in private tertiary institutions, inmates in correctional centres nationwide and also Nigerian students schooling abroad are exempted from benefiting from the loan.

According to him, NETFUND loan, which is a pool of one percent of the country’s annual tax, is strictly for students in Nigerian public tertiary schools either in the universities, polytechnics, colleges of education or government-owned skills acquisition and vocational centres.

He restated that the idea of the loan is to ensure that no Nigerian student irrespective of financial difficulty and courses of studies in Nigerian public schools would drop out of schools due to financial challenges.

Sawyerr gave these explanations at an interactive section with newsmen under the aegis of the Education Writers’ Association of Nigeria (EWAN) at the University of Lagos, Akoka.

Sawyerr explained that NETFUND will run purely as a financial institution (and not grants giver) offering a free-interest loan to students who or their parents might not have the financial wherewithal to sponsor their studies.

According to him, NETFUND loan targets only the indigent students and people at the bottom of the ladder in the society, to redistribute wealth in their favour so as not to deny them access to quality education.

He pointed out that the loan which will be in two segments can only be 100 percent (and not less) of the entire obligatory fees payable by students in a particular institution plus the stipends for other needs, including accommodation and feeding per each academic session and based on the geographic locations of their schools.

He noted that the first segment of the loan, which will take care of various fees charged by each institution, will be paid directly to schools on behalf of students while the stipends would be paid directly into the beneficiaries’ bank accounts as the need arises.

He also noted that beneficiaries of the loan will have to apply each academic session and not at once even if they may spend multiple years to complete their studies, their applications will be treated within 30 days.

He said NETFUND had devised a means of smooth and transparent operations as it will work with the supplied verifiable details of beneficiaries such as the BVN, NIN, and admission letters from their schools, commercial banks and other partnering institutions to access the loan.

According to him, students already with fat bank accounts and “ghost students” if there are anything like such will never access the scheme.

Similarly, the managing director also declared that though the loan repayment would officially be from two years after beneficiaries have been discharged from the one-year National Youth Service Corps( NYSC) programme, repayment can be earlier or much later depending on whether the beneficiaries are economically engaged.

“So, there is no watertight timeline for repayment.

“Somebody could collect our loan today while still in school and may want to return the whole money the second day if he or she does not need the loan again. We will collect it.

“The same thing shall be applicable to those, who used the loan throughout their studies and graduated without getting a job on time. We can’t expect such types of individuals to start paying back their loan when they are yet to be economically engaged.

“However, we will definitely know when a beneficiary gets a job or if he/she is economically engaged two years after the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme,” he stated.

Sawyerr, noted that though the organisation is set to commence receiving applications from the interested students, the portal is not yet opened for such.

“We will open the portal soon and this will be made public once we are ready,” he concluded.

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