The Federal Government is resolute in its stance that no federal university should impose tuition fees within the country.
During a public hearing conducted by the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on student loans in Abuja on Tuesday, Mr. David Adejo, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, reiterated this position.
Adejo clarified that the recent increase in charges seen in some federal universities was regrettable. He explained that the fees collected from students were meant to cover expenses related to accommodation, ICT services, power, and other essential facilities. He emphasized that the authority to approve such charges lies with the Governing Councils of the universities.
Regarding the University of Lagos, Adejo noted that it was the only institution that had raised fees after the signing of the student loans act. This decision was made with the approval of the dissolved Governing Councils, and the Ministry of Education granted permission. However, following a resolution from the House and a directive from the President to halt fee increases, the initiative was stopped. Despite this, various other universities have submitted proposals for fee adjustments.
READ MORE: NAAT Strongly Opposes The 200% Increase In Fees Implemented By Federal Universities
Adejo stressed that the charges collected by universities were utilized to cover services like electricity bills and other necessary expenses. He also disputed the assertion that the signing of the Students’ Loan Act was solely responsible for the rise in university charges. Despite these charges, universities have encountered difficulties in meeting their expenses.
He further informed that preparations were in progress for the launch of the student loans scheme in the upcoming 2023/2024 academic session. Adejo highlighted that President Bola Tinubu had issued a directive to ensure all necessary preparations were finalized to facilitate the scheme’s commencement in September.
Committee Chairman Teseer Ugbor expressed that the student loan was one of the Federal Government’s efforts to alleviate the challenges faced by Nigerians and enhance access to higher education. However, Ugbor expressed concerns about the fund disbursement process, fund recovery from beneficiaries, and the possibility that some students might be unable to access the loan. He called for constructive dialogue during the process of amending the law to guarantee that all interested Nigerian students could benefit from the student loan scheme.