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Student Loans

Volume 447: debated on Friday 16 June 2006

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the amount of outstanding student loans that will be written off over the next 30 years; and if he will make a statement. (75865)

I have been asked to reply.

Borrowers are required to repay student loans only when their income reaches the relevant income threshold; and loans are written off when borrowers reach the relevant age threshold, after 25 years, become permanently unfit for work, or die.1

At the end of the 2004-05 financial year our estimate was that, in England and Wales, £620 million of the £12.4 billion of outstanding income contingent maintenance loans and £420 million of the £1.5 billion of outstanding mortgage style loans would be written off. We do not estimate write offs which will occur specifically within the next thirty years as loans (particularly where borrowers do not reach the threshold) could have a longer lifetime.

1 Income contingent loans will be written off after 25 years (instead of at age 65) for students receiving them for the first time from September 2006. Mortgage style loans will not be written off while arrears remain outstanding except in the case of death or disability.