University students will be repaying loans into their 50s, say researchers

The Guardian is reporting that the majority of undergraduates now at university will be paying off their student loans well into their 40s and 50s, with three-quarters of them unable to clear the debt before it is written off after 30 years, according to an analysis published today…

The report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Sutton Trust estimates that the average student will leave university more than £44,000 in debt.

A middle-earning graduate will still owe about £39,000 at today’s prices by the age of 40, and will still owe about £32,000 by 50.

“For many professionals, such as teachers, this will mean having to find up to £2,500 extra a year to service loans at a time when their children are still at school and family and mortgage costs are at their most pressing,” said Conor Ryan, the Sutton Trust’s director of research.

“We believe that the government needs to look again at fees, loans and teaching grants to get a fairer balance.”

In cash terms, the researchers estimate that graduates will now repay a total of £66,897 on average, equating in real terms to £35,446 on average in 2014 prices.

Claire Crawford of the University of Warwick, one of the report’s authors, said a perverse effect of the repayment scheme was that graduates who do less well in the labour market will end up paying back less than before, while middle and high earners will pay back much more.

“The new higher education finance system will leave graduates with much more debt than before. But the effects of the changes will be quite different for different people and at different parts of their lives,” she said.

Although large numbers will repay more than they borrowed, most will not return their loan in full, the study says. “We estimate 73% will have some debt written off at the end of the repayment period, compared with 32% under the old system. The average amount written off will be substantial – about £30,000.”

More at: University students will be repaying loans into their 50s, say researchers

Your thoughts on these latest figures? Do you find the concept of someone still paying back student loans into their 50s unacceptable, or – because it is income related – is it really little different to paying more taxes as someone earns more? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…

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Categories: Higher Education.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Young people have to consider very carefully whether it’s really worth going to uni nowadays or are there alternatives?

  2. typograph

    SchoolsImprove not after they have all paid thousands to attend my one day “how to successfully fake your own death” webinar!

  3. EddieTriggs

    SchoolsImprove for a fiver I could have told them that!! Would be interested to know how many will not repay any of it though!!

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