Student loan system ‘out of control’ as graduates leave college with £ 100,000 to pay back

EXCLUSIVE: New figures acquired by the Sunday Mirror show 4.5 million students owing debt totaling £ 100 billion, showing the system to be a ‘runaway train’

Grace Dean worries about never repaying her loan

More and more students are leaving university with crushing debts of over £ 100,000.

At least 200 graduates owe six-figure amounts to the Student Loans Company (SLC).

And figures acquired by the Sunday Mirror reveal that 4.5 million students have debts totaling £ 100 BILLION .

Christopher McGovern, of the Campaign for Real Education, warned: “The student debt crisis is on the rise. It’s completely out of control.

“We need to cut courses by 50% and restore scholarships for those who can actually benefit from a degree course.”

The largest debt on record is £ 142,662, which could be subject to monthly interest of £ 665. Another student owes £ 134,253 and eight have debts over £ 120,000.

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Nurse Jessie asks that the rules change


Damien McFadden)

Students over £ 100,000 are believed to have taken longer courses, embarked on higher education after their initial graduation, or opted to return to higher education.

Figures show that 17,000 students have debts of between £ 70,000 and £ 100,000 and 63,000 owe £ 60,000 to £ 70,000.

Many more will be grappling with debt of £ 40,000 to £ 60,000 after three years – consisting of £ 9,250 in tuition fees per year plus a loan to cover living costs.

This can reach £ 12,000 per year, depending on locality and family situation.

The system is “out of control”


Getty Images / iStockphoto)

Reimbursements are set at 9% of whatever graduates earn above the annual salary threshold, currently £ 27,295.

But interest as high as 5.6% can plunge a lot of people into new debt – and 87% shouldn’t pay off the loan within 30 years, when it is written off.

Shadow Labor Minister Matt Western said: “This deeply flawed system, combined with the Tories’ abolition of the maintenance subsidy, often leaves the poorest graduate students with the most debt, deterring them. others to apply to college. “

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The SLC said, “Some courses may last longer than a standard three-year degree.

“The system allows students to access additional financial support for remedial upgrades and compelling personal reasons, if applicable.

“Higher debt figures are exceptional cases.”

It’s awful for graduates … I’ll never erase the slate

Grace Dean was among the first to pay a tuition fee of £ 9,000 per year.

Now, almost five years after leaving college, her debt stands at £ 77,000 – up £ 8,000 due to interest and not earning enough to start repaying.

Grace, 28, from Leeds, said: “It’s always in my head how much I owe, even if it doesn’t affect getting a loan or a mortgage.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to pay it all back – I’ll never earn enough to clean the slate. Grace graduated in public relations and now works in aviation.

She added, “I don’t regret going to college because I met my husband and it shaped my life.

“But the student debt is huge and it’s horrible so many recent graduates owe tens of thousands of dollars.

“For a lot of graduates, the interest they pay is more than a loan or a credit card. The government needs to do something about it. “

Interest took my loan up to £ 5,000 … it’s never ending

Childrens nurse Jessie Collins has seen her loan debt increase to £ 68,557, or £ 5,000 in 18 months.

Mother-of-two Jessie, 28, said: “It’s a scary amount. The interest means it’s never-ending. Knowing it’s hanging over you is enough to give you a sleepless night.

Jessie, from Peterborough, started her studies in 2017 – after the cutting of nursing scholarships worth up to £ 16,454 per year.

A U-turn last year saw every nursing student in England getting a grant of £ 5,000 a year. But it was too late for Jessie and many others who helped fight Covid-19 during NHS internships.

She added: “It is extremely unfair. We worked 40 hours a week on an internship. It is like paying the government for this privilege.

Jessie has written to ministers asking for debt relief. She said, “I will not stop fighting to make this change for the students who follow me. I don’t think it’s fair.

Graduated debts

Loan balance / Number of graduates

£ 60,000 to £ 70,000 – 63,000

£ 70,000 to £ 80,000 – 13,500

£ 80,000- £ 90,000 – 2,900

£ 90,000 to £ 100,000 – 600

£ 100,000 and over – 200