Student Loan Piggy bank

Student Loans – The Lowdown

Student loans merely defined!
In this text, we cowl what, when and the way you repay, what curiosity is charged in your loan and different need-to-knows.
Also see our associated matters on whether or not to clear your debt early if in case you have spare money, and why business borrowing may be very totally different.
But for those who’re worrying about your student debt, please first learn why there’s no must stress…


In this text:

Student loans – key info

How to contact the Student Loans Company

How the reimbursement system works – whenever you begin & cease funds, & how a lot 

Interest in your loan
Interest prices & funds, & what occurs if rates of interest change

How you repay by the tax system
If you’re employed for an employer, for those who’re self-employed or for those who dwell abroad

Impact in your credit ranking & future borrowing

Postgraduate funding

Government overview on student financing – replace


Student Loan Piggy bank

Student Loans Overview

Increased tuition charges, rising rates of interest and the alternative of upkeep grants with loans, means most graduates now depart college with vital student debt (common £50,800), which they are going to be repaying over a few years. But while this would possibly sound daunting, way more related than the quantity of debt you rack up, is the quantity you truly repay.
A student loan just isn’t like a standard debt – delayed repayments, the write-off interval and the truth that repayments are linked to what you earn not what you owe, make the student loan one of many most secure, and for some the most cost effective types of borrowing. So it’s not all the time clever to repay your loan early, even for those who can afford to.
Student Loan Overview

Key Facts

Note: Figures relate to student loans taken out since September 2012 (Plan 2).
The reimbursement system is similar all through the UK, however some totally different guidelines apply to Scotland and Northern Ireland. Click right here for extra info and different loan sorts.
Student Loans Piggy Infographic

Information Source: Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)


Tuition charges

Universities are allowed to lift tuition charges every year according to inflation. Maximum annual charges (charged by nearly all of universities) are at the moment capped at £9,250.

Interest charges

The curiosity charged on student loans is linked to inflation. For the present educational yr 2020-21, the rate of interest can be 5.6% (whilst you’re finding out) after which between 2.6 – 5.6% (relying in your earnings).

Maintenance assist

You can get further student finance to assist in direction of your dwelling prices at college/school; nevertheless upkeep grants had been changed with upkeep loans in 2016. As a consequence, students from lower-income households, who now need to borrow extra to fund themselves by college, are graduating with the best money owed, of over £57,000.


Student Loans Company (SLC)

Contact the Student Loans Company:

To replace your private particulars e.g. whenever you depart college


To replace your employment info or inform them you’re going overseas (for over 3 months)


For any enquiries regarding your loan

Call SLC: 0300 100 0611
Student Loans Company (SLC) – GOV.UK
Apply for finance, make a fee, replace your particulars, log into your account

Make positive you retain SLC knowledgeable of your contact handle and employment info, as a result of in any other case they may impose a penalty rate of interest for ‘failing to respond to requests for information or “losing touch” with the company.’


Find out whenever you begin and cease repaying your loan, and the way a lot you pay.
Piggy - repay student loan
Unlike business loans, repayments aren’t primarily based on how a lot you owe in your excellent debt, however on how a lot you earn.  Interest charges are additionally staggered based on revenue.  Whilst this does imply excessive earners might find yourself paying again excess of they borrowed (due to curiosity prices), it additionally means for those who don’t earn sufficient, you don’t must repay.

When to repay

You don’t have to start out paying again your student loan till you earn £27,295 a yr.
The earliest you start repayments is the April after leaving college/school.
Even after you begin repaying, in case your revenue drops beneath the edge in any yr, you’ll be able to cease repayments (in contrast to regular borrowing, the place you should proceed no matter your circumstances).

READ:   Fixed price or variable price?

How a lot?

Whatever you borrowed, repayments are proportionate to your earnings – you repay 9% of every thing you earn above the £27,295 threshold.

If you earn £25,000 per yr, you repay nothing.

If you earn £31,295, that’s £4,000 above the edge, so your reimbursement can be 9% of £4,000 = £360 per yr, or £30 a month.

If your revenue falls, so do your repayments.
This staggered reimbursement system implies that some graduates could possibly be paying again their loan into their 40s and 50’s.

Monthly loan repayments associated to revenue

Annual revenue (earlier than tax) Monthly reimbursement
£27,295 £0
£30,000 £20
£35,000 £58
£40,000 £95
£45,000 £133

Source: Student Loan Repayments


Write-off interval

Any unpaid student money owed are wiped after 30 years.
However a lot remains to be owing, your repayments cease, and it’s estimated that round 83% of graduates won’t pay again the complete quantity they borrowed. The system is designed in order that solely the very highest earners repay their complete debt.
You can verify your repayments and steadiness in your on-line account or your annual statements from SLC.
Use this Student Loan Repayment Calculator to work out how a lot of your loan you would possibly count on to pay again and over what time frame.

Interest  on Student Loans


Interest is what you’re charged for borrowing cash, however within the case of student loans, it’s essential to do not forget that what you’re charged just isn’t essentially what you pay! Your repayments are calculated on how a lot you earn, not how a lot you owe (your excellent loan + curiosity prices).


How it really works

For student loans, the rate of interest is ready every September, primarily based on the Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation price from March of the identical yr. Your excellent loan quantity accrues curiosity throughout college and after commencement.

For the present educational yr September 2020 – August 2021:

While you’re finding out, and till the April after you’ve gotten left college:  curiosity is charged at RPI + 3% (= 5.6%).
From the April after commencement, prices are staggered based on revenue.
From April 2021, graduates incomes below the £27,295 reimbursement threshold can be charged a primary price equal to RPI inflation (= 2.6%). Then curiosity is charged on a sliding scale, as much as the utmost price of RPI + 3% (= 5.6%) for folks incomes £49,130 or extra. This principally implies that the upper your revenue, the extra curiosity can be added to your student loan, till you’ve gotten paid it off.

Find out the present rate of interest in your student loan

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) calculates that the common student can have accrued £5,800 curiosity by the point they graduate. And increased earners charged the highest price after commencement ‘could end up paying interest of £40,000 on top of the amount borrowed.’

Avoid penalty rates of interest

Keep the Student Loans Company updated together with your contact particulars and employment info, to keep away from being charged a penalty price. If you don’t present the data they require, they might apply the highest rate of interest no matter your revenue, till they’ve all the small print they want.

Interest charges are linked to inflation

There is mounting stress for the Government to modify from utilizing the RPI (Retail Prices Index) to the decrease CPI (Consumer Prices Index), for calculating student loan rates of interest. Why does it matter?
Both RPI and CPI measure inflation (the speed of change of costs for items and companies), by monitoring the altering price of a ‘basket’ of products e.g. meals, petrol and family merchandise, however they cowl totally different gadgets and are calculated in another way. RPI virtually all the time offers the next determine (on common 1.2% above CPI). The increased the inflation price, the upper the rate of interest charged on student loans, so it does make a distinction which measure is used.

READ:   Pennsylvania Public Workers No Longer Will Have to Pay Taxes on Forgiven Student Loans



Inflation – February 2021

0.7% CPI    Consumer Prices Index

1.3% RPI    Retail Prices Index

The Government usually pegs the funds it makes to the decrease CPI (e.g. pensions, advantages) and the funds it receives to the upper RPI (e.g. student loan repayments, practice fares and taxes). However, to assist struggling small companies, they’ve now switched enterprise charges to rise according to CPI, so we hope student loans will observe swimsuit!

Find out extra right here in regards to the distinction between RPI and CPI.


If rate of interest = inflation price, there isn’t any actual price

Inflation is the final price at which costs rise. For these graduates being charged curiosity equal to the speed of inflation (RPI), there isn’t any actual price of your loan:

If inflation = 3%, it implies that in case your loan should buy a sure basket of products this yr, the worth of that very same basket will rise by 3% subsequent yr; so that you would wish to spend 3% extra to purchase precisely the identical issues. Therefore, paying again 3% extra is similar actual price as your authentic loan.


How does a change in rates of interest have an effect on student loans?

An increase in rates of interest will increase debt ranges for everybody, however solely the repayments of excessive earners
Higher rates of interest will improve the general quantity you owe in your student loan (quantity borrowed + curiosity), however it received’t impression your month-to-month repayments, and most of the people will find yourself paying no further general.

Monthly repayments

An increase in charges received’t change what you repay every month, as a result of that’s primarily based on how a lot you earn, not how a lot you owe (i.e. every year you repay 9% of your earnings above £27,295).

Overall debt

Most folks can be unaffected by an increase in rates of interest, as a result of they won’t clear the unique sum borrowed plus all of the added curiosity, earlier than their debt is wiped. Whilst they may pay some curiosity, it received’t all be on the increased price. And decrease earners received’t even repay the quantity they borrowed, by no means thoughts any curiosity it has accrued.
The debtors who will really feel most impression are greater earners who’re charged across the most rate of interest and are set to repay their loan throughout the 30-year interval. The elevated debt will take them longer to clear, with the upper curiosity including hundreds to the quantity they pay again.
The very highest earners repay their loans extra rapidly (as a result of 9% of their revenue above the £25,725 threshold is a bigger amount of cash); quicker repayments means their debt accrues much less curiosity, so they are going to be much less affected by an increase in charges.

How You Repay

How you repay student loans -Purple camouflage pig
Once you begin incomes over the £27,295 threshold, your student loan is repaid mechanically through the UK tax system. It works in another way relying on whether or not you’re employed, self-employed or dwelling overseas.

If you’re employed for an employer

Repayments can be deducted mechanically out of your wage through PAYE (Pay As You Earn), together with Income Tax and National Insurance. You want to inform your employer that you’ve a Student Loan (often by finishing an HMRC New Starter Checklist in your first job).

If you full a Self Assessment tax return

If you’re self-employed, or produce other revenue that isn’t taxed mechanically by the PAYE system, you pay tax and student loan repayments by the Self Assessment scheme. Notify HMRC that you’ve a Student Loan by ticking the field in your Self Assessment tax return. They will then calculate your repayments, which you make concurrently you pay your tax.

If you reside outdoors the UK

After you’re as a result of begin repaying your loan, in case you are travelling or dwelling overseas for greater than 3 months, you will have to inform the Student Loans Company (SLC). They will work out what you must repay whilst you’re overseas. Be positive to maintain your account particulars updated, or chances are you’ll be charged penalty rates of interest and prices.

READ:   Student Minimum Wage in Canada By Province 2021

Budget for repayments

It’s a good suggestion to set and hold to a month-to-month finances to replicate your revenue and outgoings, together with your student loan repayments (even when they’re deducted mechanically earlier than you obtain your wage).

Set up a Budget


If you’re fighting repayments

Contact the Student Loans Company


Keep observe so that you don’t overpay!

Many graduates have student loan repayments deducted from their wage mechanically through PAYE, and for many the system works properly. But hundreds of graduates unintentionally overpay their money owed (within the worst circumstances as much as £10,000) e.g. the place repayments are collected too early, when their revenue is beneath the edge, or after the loan has already been cleared. Problems happen primarily as a result of HMRC solely stories funds as soon as yearly to the Student Loans Company on the finish of the tax yr, by which era a big sum of overpayments might have been made. The Government plans to repair the system, however do be proactive and frequently verify your funds, significantly in case your circumstances change, otherwise you’re near clearing your debt.
Check your repayments and steadiness in your SLC on-line account.
If you suppose you’ve gotten overpaid, you’ll be able to apply for a refund
or name SLC: 0300 100 0611

Student Loan Overpayments & Refunds – Money Saving Expert


Impact on Credit Rating & Future Borrowing

Your student loan just isn’t included in your credit file, so it won’t have an effect on your credit ranking and shouldn’t impression future borrowing.

However it’d have an effect on mortgage offers, as a result of lenders perform affordability checks to evaluate what stage of mortgage repayments you might handle in your take-home pay; due to this fact they’ll keep in mind all of your month-to-month outgoings, together with student loan repayments.


Mortgage applications - Yellow house
‘I had only £6000 remaining on my student loan. A major lender offered me £87,000 mortgage with my student loan in place, or £102,000 if I paid off my loan first!’

(Beth in Sheffield)



Postgraduate Students

Postgraduate loans are actually accessible all through the UK, though the quantities and guidelines for eligibility differ, relying on the place you’re finding out: England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland.
In England, postgraduate students can apply for a loan of as much as £11,570 for a Masters diploma (2021-22), to assist with course charges and dwelling prices. Interest can be charged at RPI + 3% (= 5.6%).
Just like your undergraduate loan, repayments are income-contingent – you solely repay if/whenever you’re incomes sufficient as soon as your course ends. The reimbursement threshold is £21,000, and also you repay 6% of your annual earnings over this threshold. Any remaining debt is wiped after 30 years. If you have already got an undergraduate student loan, you’ll repay each on the identical time.


Find out extra about postgraduate funding:

Postgraduate Loans 2019 –20: Find A Masters

Funding for Postgraduate Study – GOV.UK
Masters, doctorates, trainer coaching and so on.


Government Review on Student Financing

The Government has just lately accomplished a full overview of student financing and college funding. Proposals embrace decreasing tuition charges and curiosity prices, reintroducing upkeep grants, adjustments to reimbursement guidelines and redirection of funding.

Find out extra in regards to the suggestions:

Proposed Changes to Student Financing & How they might Affect Students & Graduates


Find out extra about all forms of student loans:

Repaying your Student Loan – GOV.UK 
How reimbursement works, present rates of interest & different FAQs
Log into your SLC account to replace your particulars, verify your steadiness owing, make a fee and so on.


Student Loans, Fees & Grants – Money Saving Expert


Why business borrowing may be very totally different from student loans