The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) branch has called on the federal government to exchange the student loan scheme for grants, stating the repayment condition is difficult for the beneficiaries.
Alex Akanmu, the ASUU chairman at the Unilorin branch made this known at the presentation of scholarships to four exceptional students of the university recently.
“We had a case of one of the scholarship beneficiaries who was contacted to come forward to receive the award and was struggling to get transport fare to the institution.
“To this end, we urge the federal government to make grants rather than loans available to students so that indigent students can access affordable education,” he said.
Akanmu expressed concerns about how the indigent students would be able to pay back if it were loans according to the federal government’s directive.
The federal government has earmarked N50bn in the 2024 budget for the implementation of its student loan scheme to commence in January 2024.
Remember that the Bauchi Zone of the ASUU had earlier called on the federal government to convert the student loan scheme to an education grant to provide Nigerians unencumbered access to higher education.
Lazarus Maigoro, coordinator of ASUU, Bauchi Zone disclosed this on the occasion of the award of the indigent scholarship to university undergraduate students in Bauchi held at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi recently.
“The question is, who will pay the loan? What is the fate of those who cannot access it? The psychological trauma the students will be subjected to due to the loan while still on studies will affect their performance negatively,” he asked.
In addition, he said; “The thought that they will graduate with a loan of N4 million and above without the capacity to pay back is another psychological torture on them.
“Furthermore, those who cannot access the loan due to the stringent conditions attached virtually means dropping out of school.
Currently, due to the hike in school fees or charges in public Universities nationwide, many students have not been able to resume.”
Meanwhile, Yakubu Dogora, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, has admonished the federal government to include the students of private universities among the beneficiaries of the student loan scheme.
“I join my voice in the call for the inclusion of private university students in the student loan scheme of this administration as part of the palliative measures since they are also Nigerians.
“Let me appeal to the federal government to consider the plight being faced by the students of tertiary institutions. The scheme should also be properly managed for the benefit of the teeming youths of this country,” he said.
The lawmaker recently made the call at the 13th convocation and 16th-anniversary ceremonies of Achievers University, Owo, Ondo State.