The Federal Government has maintained its stance that no federal university in the country should impose tuition fees on students.
Mr David Adejo, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, reiterated this during a public hearing held by the House of Representatives ad committee on student loans in Abuja.
He expressed concern about the regrettable rise in fees charged by federal universities in the nation. Similarly, the committee’s chairman, Rep. Teseer Ugbor, indicated that the student loan was among the federal government’s efforts to alleviate Nigerians’ suffering and facilitate access to higher education.
What he said
Adejo mentioned that the fees collected by the institutions were utilized to cover various services, including electricity bills.
He contested the idea that the increase in university charges was solely attributed to the enactment of the student loan act.
“What they collect is charges to cover the cost of accommodation, ICT, and power, among others. It is the Governing Councils of the Universities that have the power to approve such charges for them.”
“The only university that increased charges after the signing of the student loans act is the University of Lagos.”
“They came to the Ministry with a proposal to Increase their charges because all Governing Councils were dissolved, and we gave them approval”.
“Immediately that was done, there was a resolution from the House stopping the increase in fees and the President also gave a directive stopping any increase in fees and that is where it is, even though several others have brought their proposal,” he said.
He highlighted that, despite the charges, universities struggled to meet some of their financial obligations.
He also disclosed that preparations were underway for the implementation of the student loans scheme during the 2023/2024 academic calendar.
Adejo further noted that President Bola Tinubu had given a directive to finalize the scheme’s modalities for a September launch.
He further voiced concerns about fund disbursement, loan recovery, and the potential exclusion of certain students from the scheme.
He called for open dialogue during the amendment process to ensure all interested Nigerian students could benefit from the loan.