Who Is Eligible For Student Loans In Nigeria?

Nigerian Student Loans: Who Qualifies?


Financing a Nigerian education can be a challenge. Thankfully, the Nigerian government offers student loans through the Nigeria Education Loan Fund (NELFUND). But who exactly qualifies for these loans? Let’s break down the eligibility criteria:


Primary Requirement: Public Tertiary Institution

NELFUND prioritizes public universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, and vocational schools. So, if you’re enrolled in one of these institutions, you’re off to a good start.

Types of Student Loans Available

There are two main types of student loans available in Nigeria:

  1. Government-Backed Loans: These are loans provided by government agencies such as the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) and the Nigerian Students Loans Board (NSLB).
  2. Private Loans: These are offered by banks and other financial institutions like the United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Access Bank.

3. Eligibility Criteria for Student Loans

A. General Eligibility Requirements

Regardless of the type of loan, there are general criteria that all applicants must meet:

  1. Nigerian Citizenship: Only Nigerian citizens are eligible to apply for student loans.
  2. Admission into a Recognized Institution: Applicants must have gained admission into a recognized tertiary institution in Nigeria. This includes universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education.
  3. Academic Performance: Most loan providers require applicants to maintain a certain academic standard, usually a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA).
  4. Age Limit: Generally, applicants should be between 18 and 35 years old. However, some institutions might have different age criteria.
  5. Guarantor Requirement: Applicants often need to provide a guarantor who can vouch for their ability to repay the loan. The guarantor is usually required to be a Nigerian citizen with a stable income.

B. Specific Requirements for Government-Backed Loans

  1. TETFund Loans: TETFund loans are typically available for postgraduate studies. Eligibility criteria include:
    • Proof of admission into a postgraduate program.
    • A letter of recommendation from a faculty member.
  2. NSLB Loans: The Nigerian Students Loans Board provides loans for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Eligibility criteria include:
    • Proof of admission into a tertiary institution.
    • Evidence of financial need.
    • A completed application form endorsed by the institution.

C. Specific Requirements for Private Loans

Private financial institutions have their own set of criteria, which may include:

  1. Proof of Admission: Similar to government loans, proof of admission into a recognized institution is mandatory.
  2. Parental/Guardian Income: Some banks require details of the parent’s or guardian’s income to assess the applicant’s financial needs.
  3. Collateral/Security: In some cases, applicants may need to provide collateral or a co-signer with a strong credit history.
  4. Repayment Plan: A clear repayment plan demonstrating the ability to repay the loan after graduation is often required.

Application Process

A. Government Loans

  1. Obtain and Fill Out Application Forms: Application forms can usually be obtained from the respective loan board’s website or office.
  2. Submit Required Documents: This typically includes proof of admission, academic records, identification documents, and guarantor details.
  3. Interview/Screening: Some loan providers might require an interview or screening process to verify the information provided.
  4. Approval and Disbursement: Once approved, the loan amount is disbursed directly to the educational institution or the applicant’s account.

B. Private Loans

  1. Visit the Bank: Applicants should visit the bank offering the loan and speak with a loan officer.
  2. Submit Application and Documents: Submit the completed application form along with required documents such as proof of admission, identification, and financial statements.
  3. Loan Assessment: The bank will assess the application based on creditworthiness and the ability to repay.
  4. Approval and Disbursement: Upon approval, the loan is disbursed as per the bank’s policy, either directly to the institution or the applicant.

Gone are Income Limits and Parental Loan History

Previously, eligibility hinged on a family income below ₦500,000 and a clean parental loan record. Thankfully, these restrictions have been lifted. This opens up the program to more students in need.

Guarantor Requirements Remain

While income limitations are gone, you’ll still need two guarantors to secure the loan. These guarantors should be:

  • Civil servants with at least 12 years of service
  • Lawyers with a minimum of 10 years of experience
  • Judicial officers or Justices of the Peace

Additional Considerations

  • National Identity Number (NIN): This verifies your Nigerian citizenship.
  • Bank Verification Number (BVN): This ensures you have a bank account for loan disbursement.
  • School Verification: Not all public institutions participate yet. Check if your school has uploaded your data to the NELFUND Student Verification System (SVS).


NELFUND isn’t the only option. Private banks offer student loans too, often with different eligibility criteria. Explore these options as well, but be mindful of potential interest rates and repayment terms.


Student loans can ease your financial burden. By understanding the eligibility criteria and exploring all options, you can take a step closer to achieving your educational goals!


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