May 2, 2024

Student loan scheme: Should students in private institutions be excluded?

Student loan

By Adesina Wahab

Just like the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, which is meant to be an intervention agency in the education sector, especially at the tertiary level, the Nigerian Education Loan Fund, NELFUND, has been set up to also provide succour for the sector. However, both agencies are not for the benefit of private institutions and their students. The laws setting up the bodies did not make provisions for the schools and their students to benefit.

Opinions are divided as to the propriety or otherwise of the decisions to exclude private institutions and their students from the schemes. This is bearing in mind that private institutions pay taxes, while parents of students therein are also taxpayers.

Why students in private varsities aren’t benefiting —NELFUND boss

The Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of NELFUND, Mr Akintunde Sawyerr, while giving reasons for the exclusion of private institutions’ students from the scheme, said the fund is a tool for wealth redistribution in society.

“Though President Bola Tinubu believes the fund is for all Nigerians, some factors have not made us consider including students in private institutions as beneficiaries for now. We must understand that the scheme is a means to redistribute wealth to balance society. We have to also know that it is a social programme meant to help in the education of the poor. It is a social scheme meant to help the people at the lower cadre.


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“It is generally taken that if your child attends a private university, you may not be seen as being poor. That one apart, if the tuition fee in a private university is say N2 million, you can imagine how many students in a public university such an amount can take care of. Yes, parents of students in private schools also pay taxes, but we have to consider the impact of getting as many people as possible have access to tertiary education,” he explained.

We support govt’s decision —NAPTAN

The Deputy National President of the National Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria NAPTAN, Chief Adeolu Ogunbanjo, said the body is in support of the stance of the government.

“The scheme is meant for disadvantaged students. Those who send their children and wards to private institutions can afford it. You can see that public universities have a large chunk of our students. Some people pay tuition fees in private schools in foreign currency. If somebody can do that, then it means that the person is well to do. The programme is for those who need such assistance.”

Extend it to all — OBJ, TU VC

Former President Olusegun, who is also the proprietor of Bell University of Technology, Ota, Ogun State, thinks that since public and private institutions produce graduates for society, none should be excluded. “I support the call by the Vice Chancellor that students in private universities be included as beneficiaries of the student loan scheme, their parents are taxpayers too,” he said at an occasion at the university recently.

The Vice-Chancellor, Trinity University, TU, Yaba, Prof. Clement Kolawole, during the matriculation ceremony of the university, said, “Private universities are not being helped in any way. We pay taxes to the government, but we gain nothing in return. We have to provide everything for ourselves and by ourselves.

To even raise money in the financial market is difficult. That is done at cutthroat rates. Excluding private universities from benefiting from TETFund and now the student loan scheme is not the best. Their parents are taxpayers and we also produce graduates for the benefit of society,” he said.

Vanguard News Nigeria