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Student loan disbursement to commence in 20 days — Sawyer

Akintunde Sawyer, the managing director of the Nigeria Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) has assured Nigerians that the disbursement of the first phase of the student loan will commence in 20 days.

Sawyer made this known on Saturday, June 1, 2024, during an NTA Weekend File live programme where he spoke on ‘Monitoring First Phase of Students Loan Scheme’.

“We will begin to disburse the students’ loan in the next 20 days, when the academic session starts,” he said.

Speaking on some challenges being faced by students applying for the loan, the NELFund managing director explained that there are hitches because sometimes the students’ registration numbers and other required numbers do not match with what is in the portal, hence, they may be denied access until such is sorted out.

Meanwhile, Sawyerr revealed that there is a skill acquisition provision in the Students’ Loan Act as amended.

“The initial Act did not include skills acquisition, but the amended Act has included it,” he explained.

Throwing more light on why there was an infusion in the re-enacted Act, Sawyerr said that President Bola Tinubu requested for a skill acquisition provision to be added to the new Act because the country needs a skilled workforce to grow its economy.

“The Students’ Loan Scheme provides funds for those who want to upgrade their skills, and Nigeria needs skilled man power,” he noted.

However, he explained that the main problem faced by the agency in executing this aspect of the scheme is that NELFund has to set the standards for selecting those seeking the loan for their skills upgrading.

Furthermore, Sawyerr pointed out that engaging the youth in skill acquisition will go a long way in helping the country curb armed robbery, banditry, and other manners of crimes associated with idle youngsters.

The students’ loan application portal was rolled out on Friday, May 24, 2024, to relieve Nigerians from the burden of trying to bridge their children’s higher education gap and to help youth actualise their lives dreams.

The loan scheme is seen by many as one major landmark that President Tinubu’s led administration is serious about repositioning education in the country.

According to Akintunde Sawyerr, the managing director of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND), students can access loans to pursue their academic aspirations without financial constraints through the scheme as it is going to be rolled out in phases.

“The first thing I can tell you is that we’re going to roll this out in phases, the first phase is going to be with federal institutions and then we’re going to move to the other tertiary institutions.

“It’s going to be the public sector mainly at the beginning because that’s where we find the bulk of students who perhaps need the financing cover,” Sawyer said.