Federal Ministry of Education has defended the increment in school fees in government-owned universities, saying the development will cover high costs at the institutions.
This was as the House of Representatives proposed an increase of three per cent, as against an initial one per cent, for students loan from revenue generated yearly, as announced by President Bola Tinubu.
Permanent Secretary of the ministry, David Adejo, during a meeting with the House Committee on Students Loans, yesterday, explained that what was reported as an increase in tuition fees was simply an increase in charges by schools.
He was reacting to rumours that signing of the Students Loan Act had prompted several federal universities to increase their charges.
Noting that no federal university in the country is allowed to collect tuition fees from students, Adejo said charges collected by institutions are used to pay for services, including electricity bills and accommodation.
He said: “What they collect is charges to cover the cost of accommodation, ICT, and power, among others. It is the governing councils of the universities that have power to approve such charges for them.
“The only university that increased charges after signing of the Student Loans 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 the increase in fees. And the President also gave a directive stopping any increase in fees. That is where it is, even though several others have brought their proposal.”
He also announced that implementation of the students loans scheme is scheduled to commence during the 2023/2024 academic session.
He said the President has directed completion of work on modalities for loan implementation, with a target start date in September 2023.
Adejo added that the President has established a coordinating committee, with the Chief of Staff serving as chairman. The committee comprises key entities such as the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Federal Budget Office, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance, and others.