THE USEFULNESS OF THE BILL FOR STUDENT LOAN IN NIGERIA VIS-A-VIS THE APPLICATION IN NIGERIA By Maxwell N. Uwaifo Esq The Bill Is For An Act To Provide Easy Access To Higher Education For Nigerians Through Interest Free Loans From Nigerian Education Bank Established With A View To Provide Education For All Nigerians And For Related Maters has been passed by the 9th National Assembly and same has been sent to President Muhammadu Buhari for accent. The Bill Provide Easy Access To Higher Education For Nigerians Through Interest Free Loans From Nigerian Education Bank Established With A View To Provide Education For All Nigerians And For Related Maters The Objective and Application of the Bill The objective of the Bill shall apply to all matters pertaining to the application and grant of loans to Nigerians seeking Higher Education into institutions of higher learning in Nigeria through the Nigerian Education Bank. All students seeking higher education in any public institution of higher learning in Nigeria shall have equal right to access the loan under the Act without any discrimination arising from gender, religion, tribe, position or disability of any kind The loan in the Act shall be granted to students only for the payment of tuition fees and grant of the loan to any student under the Act shall be subject to the student satisfying the requirements and conditions set out under the Act. The Act also created the Establishment of the Nigerian Education Bank, the functions and Powers of the Bankl shall be as follows; 1. Be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and shall have powers to sue and be sued in its corporate name; 2. Have its head office located in the Federal Capital Territory and may establish branch offices in any state of the Federation; 3. Implement the provisions of the Act; 4. Supervise, coordinate, administer, and monitor the management of the students loan in Nigeria; 5. Receive applications for students loan through higher institutions in Nigeria on behalf of the applicants, screen the applications to ensure that all requirements for grant of students’ loan under the Act are satisfied, in compliance with the provisions of the Act; 6. Approve and disburse loan to qualified applicants; 7. Control, monitor and coordinate the student’s loan account/fund and ensure compliance in respect of disbursement, 8. Monitor academic records or grantees of the loan to obtain information on their year of graduation, national service, employment, to ensure that grantees of the loan commence repayment of the loan as at when due; 9. Liaise with the employers of the grantees and conclude documentation with employers to ensure that the required sum to be deducted is deducted from the grantees salary and remitted to the student loan fund/account as directed by the commission; 10. Provide financial advice on educational matters to institutions of higher education, and to parents and educational investors. 11. Ensure adequate security on any loan granted: 12. Engage and participate in other banking business: 13. Exercise all legal rights toward recovering all loan and enforcing How to be eligible for the student loan Students applying for loan under the Act shall apply to the Chairman of the Bank through their respective institutions upon satisfaction of the following conditions: 1. Applicant have secured admission into any of the Nigerian Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of’ Education or any Vocational School established by the Federal Government or the government of any Stale of the Federation; 2. Applicant income or family income must be less than N 500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) per annum; 3. Applicant must provide at least two guarantors: each of the guarantors must be a civil servant of not less than level 12 in the service; or a lawyer with at least 1 0 (ten) years post-call experience; a Judicial officer; or a Justice Peace, A student is disqualified from accessing the loan if: 1. He is proven to have defaulted in respect or any previous loan granted by any organization 2. He has been found guilty of exam malpractice by any school authority: 3. He is convicted of a felony or any offence involving dishonesty or fraud; 4. He has been convicted of drug offenses; 5. Any of the parents has defaulted in respect or students loan or any loan granted to him/her, Process of application All applications from every Institution must be submitted through the Students Affairs Office of each Institution via a list of all qualified applicants from the institution accompanied by a cover letter signed by the Vice Chancellor, Rector or the head of the institution also the Students Affairs Officer and addressed to the chairman the Bank. Each application as stated above must be accompanied by: 1. Copy of the student’s admission letter; 2. Letter by the guarantors addressed to the Chairman, Governing board of the Bank recommending the student for the loan and stating that he accepts liability in the event of default 3. Each guarantor must submit two passport photographs, name of employer and evidence of being so employed by the named organization; 4. Where the guarantor is self-employed he must provide particulars of his business as registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission or any other appropriate authority and his bankers; 5. Each institution must ensure that all Application from its school reach the Bank not more than 30 days after close of’ admission for the academic year Payment of the Student loan Processing of any applicant’s application and disbursement will be made within 30 days of the application reaching the Bank, the applications must be processed and send to the Minister for approval within the said 30 days. Repayment of the loan Any beneficiary of the loan shall commence repayment two years after completion of the National Youth Service Corps programme. The repayment will be by direct deduction of 10% of the beneficiary’s salary at source by the employer and credited to the Students Loan Account to be prescribed by the Bank. Where the beneficiary is self-employed, he shall remit 10% of his total profit Monthly to the Students loan account to be prescribed by the Bank A self-employed person shall within sixty (60) days of assuming that status submit all information such as name or business, address and location, registration documents, if registered, name of bankers, names of partners, name of directors and shareholders to the Commission Anyone in default or found to be aiding the default of’ any of the provisions of’ the Act is guilty of an offence and if convicted shall be liable to imprisonment for two years or a fine of N500, 000 (Five I hundred Thousand Naira) or both. CONCLUSION The National Assembly, by passing the act, has dealt with part of the problems facing indigent members of the society who can’t afford tuition fees in our higher institutions, however, the Act should not only focus on tuition fees instead extend same to other needs such as: Housing, Meals, books, laptops and transportations in school. The challenge, however, will be implementation. We are expectant that the Federation Government and other relevant stakeholders will work together to put in place mechanisms to ensure compliance to this Act so it may be seamless in Nigeria. However, a public enlightenment on the details of the said Act cannot be overemphasized and should be encouraged, especially on the benefit and gains, otherwise the law will be like any other law that is only observed. MAXWELL NOSAKHARE UWAIFO, ESQ. LEX PHRONESIS SOLICITORS 21, AIRPORT ROAD, OOOM PLAZA, WARRI, Delta State 07068840273 Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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