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Nigeria: Student Loan Bill Signed into Law

In pursuit of higher education, many students find themselves facing the daunting reality of financial constraints and as the cost of post-secondary education continues to rise, a common avenue for students to bridge the financial gap is through student loans. Designed specifically to facilitate access to education, student loans provide funds to cover tuition fees and, in some cases, books, supplies, and living expenses.

However, while they can be a lifeline for aspiring scholars, the intricacies of student loans vary across countries and can often leave graduates grappling with tons of debt. These loans differ across countries, with each nation implementing its own unique policies and structures. For example, in the United States, student loans are commonly provided by both government and private lenders due to the presence of a unified credit system.

President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria has signed the Students Loan Bill into law which aims to provide easy access to higher education for eligible Nigerians, by offering interest-free loans through a Federal Government fund. Under the law, loans will be granted exclusively for the payment of tuition fees.

To be eligible for these loans, applicants must have secured admission into a Nigerian university, polytechnic, college of education, or a vocational school established by the Federal Government or any State government. In addition, the annual income of the student or their family must not exceed 500,000 Naira.

Applicant must also provide at least two guarantors and these guarantors must meet specific criterias, including being civil servants of no less than level 12 in the service, lawyers with at least ten years of post-call experience, etc.

Repayment starts 2 years after the National Youth Service, and defaulters risk facing up to 2 years in prison, a 500,000 Naira fine, or both.