The Global News reports that the Federal Government has extended the student loan scheme to state tertiary institutions across the country.

Dr Akintunde Sawyerr, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund disclosed this in Abuja, on Thursday.

The Managing Director explained that the students in the state institutions could apply for the loan facility when the second phase of the scheme commences on June 25.

Data from regulatory agencies’ websites indicate no fewer than 336 state tertiary institutions  students in the country comprising universities, colleges of education and technical colleges will benefit from the scheme.

Figures obtained from the National Universities Commission website indicate that there are 63 state universities.

The National Board for Technical Education on its website listed 54 state polytechnics, 57 state monothenics and 111 state technical colleges.

The National Commission for Colleges of Education’s website shows that there are 51 state colleges of education in the country.

Also, no fewer than 60,000 federal instiutions students have registered on the loan application portal so far.

NELFUND opened its application portal in the first phase of the registration exercise which started on May 24.

The first phase accepted applications from federal tertiary institutions.

About 1.2m students in 226 federal universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, and technical colleges were expected to benefit from the first phase.

Data obtained from the NUC and other agencies indicated that the nation has 226 federal tertiary institutions comprising 62 universities, 41 polytechnics, 96 monotechnics and 27 colleges of education.

Meanwhile, giving the latest update on the loan scheme at a press conference on Thursday, Sawyerr disclosed that the Fund would start receiving applications from state universities on June 25.

He requested all state institutions to submit their students’ data immediately in order to facilitate a smooth and seamless application process.

He added that the component for skill acquisition loans would be launched in six months.

The NELFUND boss said, “Beyond financial assistance, NELFUND recognises the profound importance of equipping our youth with practical, market-relevant skills.

“Six months from today, we will launch a comprehensive skills acquisition programme, providing training in various vocational and technical fields.

“This programme is designed to prepare students to meet the demands of the modern job market, fostering entrepreneurship and innovation among our young people.”

Sawyerr said over 60,000 applications had been received by the agency since registration for the first phase began last Friday.

He said registrations did not necessarily translate to completed student applications, adding that only 30,000 had successfully applied.

”Sixty thousand are those who have registered on the platform. About 30,000 have successfully applied for the loan but that does not mean the 30,000 have been approved. Up until this point, nobody has been given the loan. Now is the time for evaluation.

“The overwhelming response serves as a testament to the critical need for financial assistance among our student population, and we remain committed to addressing this urgent demand,” the NELFUND executive secretary assured.

He revealed that over 90 per cent of federal tertiary institutions had submitted their students’ data to NELFUND, adding that only two federal universities and five federal polytechnics have yet to do so.

“We urge the remaining two federal universities and five federal polytechnics to expedite the process to ensure that all eligible students can access our financial support,” he said.

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