By Victor Chijioke.
The Federal Ministry of Education has said that the federal government’s impending rollout of student loans is unrelated to the recent fee increase in some public universities.
Mr Andrew Adejo, the permanent secretary of the ministry, disclosed this on Tuesday, 15th August 2023, before an ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives on the implementation of the student loan legislation.
He said that the institutions raised their fees to cover the cost of accommodation and utilities.
He said: “What they collect is charges to cover the cost of accommodation, ICT, power, among others. It is the governing councils of the universities that have the power to approve such charges for them.”
Citing the case of Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, where the ministry had to bail it out of its N1 billion electricity debt, the permanent secretary noted that some public universities are in dire financial straits.
He further noted that since the dissolution of the universities’ governing councils, the Ministry of Education has been in charge of approving fee increases but has now stopped further approvals since it got orders to do so.
Although the federal government insists that its universities be tuition-free, the management of some federal universities has cited the need to cover increasing costs as necessitating the increase in fees.
Mr Tinubu had in June assented to the Student Loan Act, which will support the establishment of the Education Loan Fund meant to provide interest–free loans for indigent Nigerians to fund their higher education.