The unwavering position of the Federal Government remains that no federal university across the nation is authorized to impose tuition fees on students.
Mr. David Adejo, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, reiterated this stance during a public hearing convened by the House of Representatives’ ad hoc committee on student loans in Abuja.
Adejo expressed his apprehension regarding the unfortunate surge in fees levied by federal universities in the country. In a similar vein, Rep. Teseer Ugbor, the committee’s chairman, underscored that the student loan initiative was one of the strategies employed by the federal government to mitigate the challenges faced by Nigerians and enhance access to higher education.
Adejo clarified that the funds collected by educational institutions were allocated for various services, encompassing utilities such as electricity, accommodation, and ICT facilities.
He challenged the notion that the escalation in university fees was solely a consequence of the enactment of the student loan act.
“The funds collected are intended to offset costs related to accommodation, ICT services, power supply, and more. Governing Councils of the Universities are vested with the authority to sanction such fees.”
“The University of Lagos stands as the sole institution that raised its charges subsequent to the enactment of the student loans act.”
“They presented a proposal to the Ministry for the fee hike due to the dissolution of all Governing Councils. We granted our approval following which the House passed a resolution halting the fee increment. The President also issued a directive against any fee hike, and this stance holds, despite other institutions’ submissions,” he affirmed.
Adejo emphasized that, despite these charges, universities confronted difficulties in meeting certain financial obligations.
He further divulged that preparations were in motion to implement the student loans program during the upcoming 2023/2024 academic session.
Moreover, Adejo disclosed that President Bola Tinubu had instructed the finalization of the program’s operational details for a launch in September.
He also voiced apprehensions concerning fund distribution, loan retrieval, and the potential exclusion of specific students from the program.
He called for an open dialogue throughout the amendment process, with the aim of ensuring that all interested Nigerian students could avail themselves of the benefits afforded by the student loan program.