The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has expressed criticism of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s government students’ loan initiative, stating that it won’t benefit poor and indigent students. Dr. Mwolwus Jurbe, the Chairman of the University of Jos chapter of ASUU, made this statement in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
According to Dr. Jurbe, the conditions attached to the loan are not conducive for the intended beneficiaries, who are supposed to be underprivileged students. He argued that the criteria and requirements for the loan do not favor children from impoverished backgrounds.
President Tinubu had signed the Access to Higher Education Act, 2023, also known as the Students Loan Act, in June. This law is designed to provide interest-free education loans for Nigerians pursuing tertiary education.
Some of the conditions for the loan include requiring applicants to have gained admission to a public Nigerian university, polytechnic, College of Education (COE), or Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) School. The applicant’s income or family income should not exceed N500,000 per annum, and a minimum of two civil servants must serve as guarantors.
Guarantors should be at least on Level 12 in the civil service, lawyers with at least 10 years of post-call experience, judicial officers, or Justices of Peace. Students or parents with a history of loan default, exam malpractices, felony convictions, or drug offenses are not eligible.
Repayment of the loan begins two years after the completion of the graduate’s National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program, with the funds deducted directly from the beneficiary’s salary at a rate of 10 percent by the employer. Self-employed beneficiaries must remit 10 percent of their total monthly profit to the designated Students Loan account prescribed by the bank.
ASUU’s criticism highlights the union’s focus on promoting equity and equal access to education for all Nigerians, regardless of their social status. They argue that the government should fund education, as it currently invests substantial amounts in sending students abroad for studies, and therefore, should prioritize supporting education domestically.