Repaying student loans

  • Last updated 09 Jan 2020


Most full-time students need to take out a loan to cover the full cost of their course’s tuition fee. Depending on where and what is being studied, this total can vary, as can the maintenance loan available to all eligible UK-domiciled students, to help pay for living costs (ie. anything apart from fees) at university.

The tuition fee and maintenance loans are added together to give the total amount of debt. A typical student on a three-year course outside of London will graduate with around £35,000 - £40,000 of student loan. This loan accrues annual interest; in England for example this is 5.5%.

After graduation, yearly repayments are set at 9% of whatever is earned above £21,000, regardless of the total loan amount.

If a graduate earns:

- Below £21,000 a year: they won’t have to pay back anything

- £25,000 a year: they will repay £360 per year, at £30 per month. This is the same regardless of the total that was borrowed.

- £30,000 a year: they will repay £804 per year, at £67 per month. Again, this is the same however much was borrowed.

Any outstanding student debt is written off after 30 years, even if nothing has been paid back during that time (because the borrower wasn’t working or was earning below £21,000).

In fact, studies have estimated that over 70% of graduates won’t have paid their full loan back after 30 years. 

Find more detailed information on how young people can apply for student finance at the government website.

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