The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has put forth a proposal to raise the rates of living expenses for scholars pursuing programs overseas in response to the devaluation of the Nigerian Naira.
According to a statement issued by Abdulmumin Oniyangi, the Acting Director of Public Affairs at TETFund, the agency is currently calculating the shortfalls in living expenses faced by these scholars.
In light of the fluctuations in foreign exchange (forex), Nigerian scholars undertaking academic programs abroad have recently sought assistance from TETFund to complete their studies.
TETFund acknowledged that it received appeals for support from grant recipients studying in countries such as Malaysia, India, and Kenya. These scholars are requesting intervention to enable them to successfully conclude their academic pursuits.
In a statement, TETFund addressed these concerns and stated, “It is instructive to note that upon the introduction of the TSAS program in 2008, full tuition and living expenses of scholars were disbursed directly by TETFund to their employers i.e., the Fund’s Beneficiary Institutions, who were expected, as part of TETFund guidelines, to warehouse approved training costs in respect of foreign scholarships in domiciliary accounts.
This was followed by the disbursement of tuition fees to approved foreign institutions of study and living expenses into scholars’ foreign accounts upon receipt of progress reports on academic standing.”
However, due to numerous complaints and observations of non-compliance with stipulated guidelines by Beneficiary Institutions, the disbursement method was reviewed in August 2019.
With the revised approach, TETFund began directly paying tuition fees to foreign training institutions to mitigate the impact of exchange rate fluctuations.
Living expenses continued to be disbursed to Beneficiary Institutions for retention in domiciliary accounts before being transferred to scholars. This approach aimed to safeguard the scholarship bonds signed with their employers.
TETFund assured that it has consistently met tuition payment obligations to the training institutions of affected scholars and other institutions where TETFund-sponsored scholars participate in various programs.
Moreover, recognizing the steady increase in the cost of living index in foreign countries, TETFund’s management has proposed an increase in the rates of living expenses for scholars, effective from the 2023/2024 academic year.
Oniyangi emphasized that the process is ongoing and urged affected scholars to exercise patience while the calculations are completed and approvals are secured.
In an effort to allay concerns among affected scholars, the Executive Secretary of TETFund held a virtual meeting with them, and management decisions aimed at resolving the situation have been communicated accordingly.