The Nigerian Senate passed its second reading of a bill that will establish the National Students Financial Aid Scheme on Wednesday.
Senator Umar Suleiman (APC, Kwara North) has introduced a measure to offer a realistic framework for education finance success.
In his opening remarks on the law’s principles, Suleiman stated that the bill provides for the scheme’s management, governance, and administration.
According to him, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, if established, will provide eligible students at higher education institutions with interest-free loans and bursaries.
It will also assure a well-structured management of such loans and bursaries, as well as their recovery, he added.
He also stated that the Nigeria Students Loan Board, which was founded in 1982 to assist students in financing undergraduate and graduate courses both within and outside Nigeria, granted N46 million in loans to students between 1972 and 1991.
He said that the Board had difficulty retrieving outstanding loans totaling over N40 million from the fund, leading to the scheme’s suspension in 1992.
According to him, the Nigerian Education Bank took over the Students Loans Board in 1993.
He explained that the Education Bank serves as a major intermediary in education credit market financing, and is designed to harness private sector resources for funding education.
The bill was sponsored by Senator Jibrin Barau (APC, Kano North).
Following its discussion, the Senate President submitted the bill to the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND.
The Committee was allowed four weeks to submit its findings to the Senate in plenary session.