The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASSU) has described the student loan bill as discriminatory between the children of the rich and the poor.
Recall that Chronicle NG reported on the signing of the interest-free student loan into law and how to access it.
National President, ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, said in an interview with newsmen, “The union will react soon, but everyone knows our position on student loans because you will end up encumbering the children of the poor with loans and debt after graduating. This is discriminatory. If what I read online is correct, it says it is only for children whose parents earn at least N500,000 per year. That means if your father earns more, you won’t benefit.”
Similarly, the National President of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Mr. Anderson Ezeibe, said, “I have not studied the bill, and we don’t want to react on the surface. But I have seen one area where it will not be practicable.
“It says that students should refund the money two years after NYSC. But what is the provision for someone who is not working after NYSC? And will they all get jobs immediately after NYSC?”
However, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) described the student loan bill as a “way forward” in the country’s education system.
In a statement made available to newsmen on Monday, however, he faulted the repayment terms.
“Without saying much, the student loan bill is a way forward for the educational system in Nigeria because it will assist students whose parents cannot afford to pay tuition fees to be able to pay with the loan.
“But as good as this is, there are some questions that need to be answered by the government. The ultimatum for repayment is not feasible. As we all know, there is no work anywhere, and most graduates don’t get work immediately. How will they pay it back? How will it work when most of our graduates do not get jobs? Is there any plan or opportunity for those who have no work two years after NYSC?”
In an interview with newsmen, a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Uyo, Prof. Ini Uko, lauded the initiative.
Uko said, “Well, this means that tuition fees will go up. The subsidy for tertiary education will be removed. Vice chancellors will now be able to introduce tuition fees. This is a good initiative. I am a beneficiary of a student loan, and, of course, the people who benefit from it will have to pay it back.
“The truth is that we have to stop pretending that the government alone can continue to fund tertiary education. It is not possible.”