Skip to main content

Higher Education: EU Nationals

Volume 475: debated on Friday 9 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what estimate he has made of the likely amount of bad debt arising from outstanding tuition fees from students from EU countries studying at English universities after April 2010; and what provision he has made for such debt. (192346)

Loans for tuition fees to higher education students from other European Union (EU) member states began in September 2006. The Student Loans Company has established payment arrangements for borrowers from those countries. They are informed of the methods of repayment available to them; and the SLC is putting in place enforcement procedures which will include the use of external trace agents, international debt collection companies and—where necessary—litigation against those defaulting on their repayments. Legal action against defaulting borrowers across the EU is underpinned by EC regulation 44/2001 which allows the SLC to obtain judgments in UK courts which can be enforced by courts in other EU countries.

The salary thresholds above which borrowers repay have been set at levels appropriate to each EU member state, taking into account living costs, so that borrowers’ repayments take local circumstances into account.

Some students from EU member states will stay in the UK to work after graduation, in which case they are expected to obtain a national insurance number and make loan repayments through the UK tax system.

While there is not yet enough information about repayments from EU students accurately to estimate a default rate there is no evidence to suggest that these students will be less likely to honour their loan repayment obligations than UK borrowers.