HEADLINE | Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Student Loan: Osun has highest applicants on our database – NELFUND MD/CEO


By Shina Abubakar, Osogbo

OSOGBO – The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, of Nigeria Education Loan Fund, NELFUND, Dr Akintunde Sawyer has disclosed that Osun State has the highest number of students data on its portal.

Speaking during a courtesy visit to Governor Ademola Adeleke at his office in Osogbo on Tuesday, he described the proactiveness of the governor to NELFUND’s request for students’ information as unprecedented.

According to him, the student loan scheme is designed to reach everyone in need of funds to acquire quality higher education in government-owned institutions and we decided to deploy technology to gather students’ information to process their applications.

His words, “So data has been extremely important to us so that we can cross-check what the student is telling us at the beginning of the process to what the institution has in its databank at the end of the process.

“I can tell you today that Osun state has the highest amount of data in our database today. What that means is that if all the eligible students in Nigeria decided to apply for the loan, Osun state will have the highest number of beneficiaries”.

Speaking on the method of repayment, Sawyer said beneficiaries would have a year’s moratorium after their mandatory one year National Youths Service Scheme after which they would start repayment once they are employed.

He explains further, “The way recovery works is that getting a loan is a commercial arrangement, It’s not a criminal arrangement unless you tell falsehood or you lie. A beneficiary will have two years moratorium after NYSC only if they have a job immediately after service.

If a beneficiary doesn’t have a job after two years, he will report to us, if we can help them find jobs, we will help them, if we can’t, we just encourage them to keep trying.

After getting a job, such beneficiaries will pay according to their earnings we will not ask them to pay to us directly, we will ask their employer to check their register, which we would have set up to show that this individual has an outstanding loan and there would be direct deduction by the employer.

We’re not a profit-making agency. We’re not here to make money from the loan, we’re here to make an impact on education in Nigeria because we believe that the more Nigerians are educated, the more they get work, the more that we can generate wealth.

Don’t create a debt trap for students – Adeleke

Responding, Governor Adeleke while acknowledging the beauty of the loan scheme, urged the agency to put measures in place to safeguard the scheme from the shackles of debt.

He added that the State has a responsibility to productively work with the federal government in ensuring that Osun residents enjoy dividends of democracy like the student loan scheme.

His words, “We are glad our efforts paid off with the enrolment of many Osun schools in the programme. It is gratifying to hear that Osun took the lead among comity of states in the selection and compliance process. Our next plan is to follow up by further deepening the preparedness of the selected schools for accessing opportunities available within the fund.

“I must however call our attention to a lesson we must learn as a nation from the operation of the loans board. As a long term resident of the United States, I am aware of the challenge of student loans’ debt. It has become a crisis of sorts. It has also become a subject of hot political debate. It has to do with huge student loan debt in the US

“We must as a nation avoid a similar debt trap. As we have the grace to understudy other nations operating similar funds, we must avoid the pitfalls. Our new system must integrate mechanisms to prevent similar experiences like what is happening in the US”.

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