How to apply for the NELFUND student loan: A step-by-step guide

Godfrey Elimian
The application portal opens today, May 24, 2024…
How to apply for the NELFUND student loan: A step-by-step guide
How to apply for the NELFUND student loan: A step-by-step guide

To make higher education more accessible to Nigerian students, the Federal Government, under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has rolled out the student loan scheme. 

This initiative is part of the Nigeria Education Loan Fund (NELFUND), established by the Access to Higher Education Act of 2024. It is one of the notable initiatives by President Tinubu’s administration, aiming to provide interest-free education loans for Nigerians pursuing tertiary education.

The student loan program aims to bridge the financial gap that prevents many students from pursuing tertiary education or vocational skills training. The application portal opens today, May 24, 2024.

How to apply for the NELFUND student loan: A step-by-step guide
What you should know about the student loan scheme

The Access to Higher Education Act of 2024, replaces the previous 2023 Student Loan legislation, addressing its shortcomings and introducing broader coverage for students. 

The act mandates the creation of NELFUND, a corporate body responsible for managing and disbursing loans to eligible Nigerian students. This fund aims to cover tuition, fees, and living expenses for students in public tertiary institutions and vocational training programs within Nigeria.

The funding for NELFUND comes from a portion of taxes, levies, and duties collected by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). Specifically, 1% of these collections are directed to a General Reserve Fund that finances the student loans. 

Before the enactment of the 2024 Student Loan Act, the family income of an applicant was a determining factor for loan approval. The applicant’s family income must not exceed N500,000 per year.  However, the revised act removes the previous barriers, such as family income limits and guarantor requirements, making the loan accessible to a wider range of students.

Also, recently, the Fund clarified the suggestion that only federal tertiary students were eligible for the loans. According to it, all tertiary students at federal and state universities could apply for the loan, which was set to roll out in batches.

Read also: Nigerian Government to launch 1.4 petabytes data centre in May

How to apply for the NELFUND student loan: A step-by-step guide
Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the student loan, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Nigerian Citizenship: Only Nigerian citizens are eligible to apply for the loan.
  • Enrollment in Public Institutions: Students must be enrolled in recognised public tertiary institutions, including universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, and vocational schools within Nigeria​
  • School Data Upload: Ensure that your institution has uploaded your data onto the NELFUND portal to be eligible for the loan.

Read also: No need for student loans: Here are 5 Nigerian scholarship opportunities for students

Required Documents

Applicants need to prepare several key documents to complete the application process:

  • JAMB Admission Letter: Proof of your admission into a tertiary institution.
  • National Identification Number (NIN): This verifies your identity and nationality.
  • Bank Verification Number (BVN): Necessary for financial transactions and to link your loan to your bank account.
  • Student Matriculation or Registration Number: Confirms your enrollment and status at the institution.
Key Provisions to Note

The student loan program includes several important provisions designed to support students throughout their educational journey:

  • Repayment Terms: Repayment begins two years after the completion of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program. A manageable 10% of the beneficiary’s salary will be deducted until the loan is fully repaid​
  • Hardship Considerations: If graduates face difficulty securing employment post-NYSC, they can appeal for an extension by submitting an affidavit and additional evidence of their situation.
  • Loan Forgiveness: The loan includes a clause for debt forgiveness in cases of permanent disability or death, ensuring that the burden of debt is not transferred to the student’s family​.
  • Penalties for False Information: Providing false information during the application process is a serious offence and can result in a three-year prison term​ 
Step-by-Step Application Process

Here’s a detailed guide on how to apply for the Nigeria Student Loan:

Step 1: Verify Your Eligibility

Ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria mentioned above. This includes being a Nigerian citizen and enrolled in a recognised public tertiary institution. Confirm that your institution has uploaded your data onto the NELFUND portal.

Step 2: Gather Necessary Documents

Prepare the required documents, including your JAMB admission letter, NIN, BVN, and student matriculation or registration number. Ensure all documents are up-to-date and accessible.

Step 3: Access the NELFUND Portal
  1. Visit the portal: Go to the NELFUND website at www.nelf.gov.ng.
  2. Create an Account: If you do not have an account, create one using your email and a secure password. 
Step 4: Complete the Application Form
  1. Enter personal information: Provide your details, such as your name, date of birth, and contact information.
  2. Fill out the academic information: Enter details about your academic background, including your institution’s name, your course of study, and your year of study.
  3. Detail Financial Need: Clearly explain your financial situation and why you require the loan.
Step 5: Upload Required Documents

Upload clear and legible copies of your prepared documents. Double-check that all documents are correctly uploaded and match the required specifications.

Step 6: Review and Submit Your Application

Review all the information provided to ensure it is accurate and complete. Once you are satisfied, submit your application. You will receive a confirmation email with further instructions on the next steps.

Step 7: Await Processing and Approval

After submission, your application will be reviewed by NELFUND. This process is automated to ensure transparency and fairness. If your application is approved, the loan amount will be disbursed directly to your institution to cover your tuition and other approved expenses​.

Conclusion

The Nigeria Student Loan program is a significant step towards making higher education more accessible to Nigerian students.

By removing previous barriers and introducing comprehensive support measures, the federal government aims to empower students to achieve their educational goals. 


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