No fewer than 3,000 students of Bayelsa origin have benefited from the Bayelsa State Higher Education Students Loan Board scheme in the last one year, an official of the government said.
Also N400 million in loans have been have given out to undergraduate and post graduate students including those pursuing professional programmes.
The Executive Secretary of the Board, Dr Michael Amaegberi, disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in his office in Yenagoa.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the board was establish by the last administration in the state to cater for indigent students who are pursuing higher education in public universities across the country.
According to the Executive Secretary, the loan amounts which vary according to programmes are interest-free with flexible repayment plans where undergraduate beneficiaries are allowed to begin repayment one year after their mandatory national youth service corps programme.
Amaegberi said: “Effectively, we started giving out loans in 2020 and between that time and now of the total number of students in public universities across Nigeria, over 3000 students have received which cut across diploma, first degree, Masters and doctorate degree programmes.
“While the scheme is a novel one, there is no interest to be paid on the loans.
“Whenever the student is paying, it is the initial amount given to him/her and they, beneficiaries, are supposed to start paying back one year after their national youth service.
“We have given out almost N400 million in loans to students and the amount per student varies; but the only programmes that we try to keep them at the same level are Masters and doctorate degree programmes,” he said.
He pointed out that the Board was having fund challenges adding that it was working to seek funding from the United Nations Education Fund (UNEP), International Oil Companies (IOCs) and relevant government agencies such as the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) etc.
The ES urged those finding it difficult to pay school fees to approach the board with the necessary required documents to access the loan easily. (NAN)