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Students: Loans

Volume 472: debated on Monday 25 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many people continued to make payments to the Student Loan Company (SLC) after their incomes had dropped below the repayment threshold in each year since the SLC was established; what the mean number of months for which student loan deductions continued after the repayer ceased to be eligible to repay was in these cases; how many individuals received (a) one, (b) two, (c) three, (d) four and (e) five or more repayments subsequent to their becoming ineligible; what the (i) median and (ii) mean amount repaid in total to each individual was; and what the mean size was of the individual rebates made as a consequence. (166888)

Neither the Department nor the Student Loans Company (SLC) hold the information requested.

For borrowers covered by the UK tax system, income-contingent loan repayments (deductions) are taken by the employer and passed to HMRC, on a weekly or monthly basis if the borrower's income exceeds the relevant threshold. If a deduction is taken in error when income does not exceed the threshold then the relevant deductions are refunded by the employer. The SLC does not hold information about these deductions.

However, in some cases a borrower's income for the year may be less than the threshold overall, but their earnings above the threshold in one or more pay periods. Such situations only become clear at the end of the financial year and the borrower may claim a refund from the SLC. (Note that such borrowers had deductions taken correctly when they were above the earnings threshold in the relevant pay period.) Available data on such refunds are shown in the following tables.

Number of SLC refunds to income-contingent loan borrowers below the earnings threshold at the end of the year, England

Calendar year

Number of refunds1

2003

50

2004

110

2005

190

2006

310

2007 (to 10 October)

310

1 Number of loans rounded to nearest 10

Source:

Student Loans Company

Number of income-contingent loan borrowers1 who received SLC refunds because they were below the earnings threshold at the end of the year, by numbers of refunds, England

Number of refunds

One

730

Two

90

Three

20

Four or more

10

Total

840

1 Refunds up to 10 Oct 2007. Number of borrowers rounded to nearest 10.

Source:

Student Loans Company

The mean amount of SLC refund was 130.

Borrowers with the older mortgage-style loans can apply for deferment of repayments if their income is below the relevant threshold. The SLC holds income details only for those mortgage-style loans borrowers who apply for a deferment. Some borrowers may wish to continue repayment rather than apply for deferment. Indeed borrowers threshold overall, but their earnings above the threshold in one or more pay periods.

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many Access to Learning Loans were paid because of delays in the student loans system in each year since 2001. (175746)

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills whether he plans to sell off student loans accrued by non-UK EU citizens as part of the sale of the student loan book. (187237)

We envisage that the sale of student loans will be a long-term programme, and in principle loans to non-UK EU citizens could be included in due course . However, tuition fee loans have only been available to non-UK EU citizens since the academic year 2006-07, and the first graduates will not enter repayment until 2010, so we do not expect such loans to be included within the first sales during 2008-09.