Understanding the Exclusion of Nigerians in Private Schools from the Student Loan Scheme: Insights from the House of Representatives

The Nigerian lower legislative body, the House of Representatives, has said Nigerians attending private universities won’t benefit from the student loan scheme.

Isiaka Gboyega, the Chairman of the House Committee on Tertiary Education and Student Loans, disclosed this on Wednesday while addressing newsmen.

He said the scheme didn’t cover private tertiary institutions because of the high cost of school fees in those schools.

Gboyega explained that the school fees of a student in a private school could pay the fees of many in a public school.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Tinubu Signs Students Loan Amendment Bill Into Law

It should be recalled that President Bola Tinubu signed the student loan bill on Wednesday, which excludes private school students.

“An applicant for a loan under this Act must be a citizen of Nigeria;

“Have secured admission into any university, polytechnic, college of education established by the Federal Government or State Government, or a vocational or skills acquisition school licensed by the Federal Government,” Section 23 of the Act reads.

Speaking on the exclusion of the private schools, Mr. Gboyega said, “For anyone that has the capacity to send his/her children to some of those private schools, you would agree with me that the need for a loan under this scheme is probably minimal.”

He, however, stated that the scheme could be expanded in the future to cover students in private schools.

In the meantime, efforts to improve the accessibility and affordability of education in Nigeria must go beyond the student loan scheme. This includes exploring alternative financing mechanisms, such as scholarships, grants, and public-private partnerships, to support students in both public and private universities. Additionally, addressing structural challenges in the education sector, such as inadequate infrastructure, faculty shortages, and curriculum reform, is crucial to enhancing the overall quality and relevance of higher education in Nigeria.

The decision by the Nigerian House of Representatives to exclude students in private universities from the student loan scheme reflects a complex balancing act between competing priorities and considerations. While the move may be aimed at optimizing limited resources and ensuring accountability, it also underscores the need for comprehensive reforms to address the systemic challenges facing the education sector. Moving forward, policymakers must continue to explore innovative solutions to expand access to higher education financing and promote inclusivity in Nigeria’s education system.

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