The Federal Government has insisted that all federal universities in the country must not charge tuition fees from students.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, David Adejo stated this at a public hearing by the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on student loans in Abuja on Tuesday, 15 August, 2023, just as he also added that the recent increase in charges by federal universities in the country was unfortunate.
“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.
Adejo, who said that the charges collected by the institutions were used to pay for some of their services, including electricity bills, faulted claims that the signing of the Students’ loan act was responsible for some of the hike in the university charges.
According to Adejo, despite the charges, the universities had not been able to meet up with some of their expenses.
He said that modalities had been put in place for the take-off of the student loans scheme in the 2023/2024 academic calendar.
Adejo said that President Bola Tinubu had given a directive that all necessary works must be completed on the modalities for the take-off of the scheme to enable its take-off in September.
The chairman of the committee, Teseer Ugbor said the student loan was part of the palliatives by the federal government to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians and to ensure access to higher education by interested Nigerians.
He, however, expressed concern over the disbursement process, the recovery of the funds from beneficiaries as well as the possibility of some students not being able to access the loan.
Ugbor calls for dialogue in the process of trying to amend the law to ensure that all Nigerian students interested in the loan benefitted from it.