The Federal Government has insisted that no federal university is allowed to charge tuition fees for students in the country while giving reasons for approving a tuition hike at the University of Lagos (UNILAG).
Mr. David Adejo, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, said this at a public hearing by the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on student loans in Abuja.
Adejo said that the recent increase in charges by federal universities in the country was unfortunate.
“What they collect are charges to cover the cost of accommodation, ICT, and power, among others. It is the Governing Councils of the Universities that have the power to approve such charges for them.
“The only university that increased charges after the signing of the Student Loan Act is the University of Lagos.
“They came to the Ministry with a proposal to increase their charges because all Governing Councils were dissolved, and we gave them approval.
“Immediately that was done, there was a resolution from the House stopping any increase in fees, and the President also gave a directive stopping any increase in fees, and that is where it is, even though several others have brought their proposals,” he said.
Adejo claimed that the institutions used the fees they collected to pay for some of their services, such as electricity bills.
He faulted claims that the signing of the Students’ Loan Act was responsible for some of the hike in university charges.
Adejo said that in spite of the charges, the universities had not been able to meet some of their expenses.
He said that modalities had been put in place for the take-off of the student loan scheme in the 2023–2024 academic calendar.
Adejo said that Bola Tinubu had given a directive that all necessary works must be completed on the modalities for the take-off scheme to enable its take-off in September.
The chairman of the committee, Rep. Teseer Ugbor, said the student loan was part of the palliatives provided by the federal government to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians and ensure access to higher education for interested Nigerians.
He, however, expressed concern over the disbursement process, the recovery of the funds from beneficiaries, and the possibility of some students not being able to access the loan.
He called for dialogue in the process of trying to amend the law to ensure that all Nigerian students interested in the loan benefited from it.