FG says student loan recovery will commence two years after NYSC

The Federal Government has declared that payments for the Nigeria Education Loan Scheme (NELFund) will commence two years after beneficiaries have completed the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC).

Dr. Akintunde Sawyer, NELFund’s Executive Secretary, revealed this information in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.

Sawyer explained that the two-year grace period following the NYSC is intended to allow participants enough opportunity to find work and establish financial security before beginning repayments.

“The law provides that for students who go into paid- employment, repayment will be two years after NYSC, but, that does not mean that they cannot pay back before that time.

“However, if they don’t have a job two years after NYSC, we cannot compel them to pay. Where are they going to get the money from? So, we will help them and wait for them to be able to pay.

“There will be a register of those who have taken the loan and employers will have access to that register and see who has a loan.

“Once they see who has a loan, when they are employing the individual, they will be obliged through the payroll system to refund 10 per cent of the earnings of that individual back to the fund,’’ he said.

Sawyer said that the modalities of how the money would be rooted were still being worked out, but the employer would be obliged to make those deductions for as long as that person is at work.

“If they are yet to secure employment or if they lose their jobs they are not obliged to pay.

“We are not trying to turn applicants into criminals, we are trying to help Nigerians who need better education to get it so that they can improve their lives and the country as a whole can see improvement in its social-economic development,’’ he added.

The federal government allocated N50 billion to the student loan scheme in the 2024 budget, according to the full appropriation.

President Bola Tinubu also directed the Nigeria Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) management to widen its reach by offering interest-free loans to Nigerian students pursuing skill-development programmes.

This initiative, enacted in June under the name “Access to Higher Education Act, 2023,” also known as the Students Loan Act, established an Education Loan Fund.

The Education Loan Fund, established under the Student Loan Act, aims to provide interest-free loans to Nigerians pursuing tertiary education and skill development activities.