Student loan repayments

Paying back your student loan. ID 89342878 © Pogorelova | Dreamstime.com

What do I need to pay back to the Student Loans Company?

After your course finishes, you’ll need to pay back tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and postgraduate loans.

You do not need to pay back grants and bursaries unless you’ve been paid too much. If you’ve been paid too much, you’ll receive a notification of the amount you’ve been overpaid.

Even if you leave your course early or you don’t complete your degree, you will still have to repay your student loan in full.

How much money do I owe?

If you’re unsure how much money you owe The Student Loans Company, you can use their Balance Calculator to see how much you’ve spent.

You’ll need to have an account with the Student Loans Company in order to do this.

When do I need to start repaying my student loan?

Repayments only start once you’ve started earning above a certain salary, and it also depends on what kind of student loan you were given.

The Student Loans Company has a page which can help you find out which kind of loan you have. There are two different loan repayment types, Plan 1 and Plan 2.

Plan 1 loans start being repaid once you earn over £18,330 a year.
Plan 2 loans start being repaid once you earn over £25,000 a year.

The earliest you’ll have to start repaying your student loan is April 6 on the year after you graduate from university or college.

Can I pay off my student loan early?

Yes, you can – and you won’t incur a penalty for doing this. However, for young people just starting to make their way in life, paying your student loan off early can have risks.

By paying off your student loan faster, rather than saving, you may find yourself applying for loans or credit cards if you need some extra money.

Student loan debt doesn't cost as much as commercial interest – even a mortgage costs a lot more over several years. If you think you’re likely to need to borrow money in the future, consider starting to save money now rather than speeding up student loan repayments, so you can say no to expensive loans and credit cards.

Can I make additional payments?

You can – however, remember that any other repayments you make are voluntary and won’t replace scheduled repayments you already make.

Voluntary repayments can’t be refunded, so make sure that you can afford to make them before you commit.

You can make an additional payment using a debit card, a cheque or postal order, or an international bank transfer if you’re abroad.

Will my student loan ever be written off?

Writing off your student loan depends on the loan you have, and where you studied.

  • If you started your studies in the UK before September 1, 2006, any debt is wiped when you reach 65.
  • If you started your course on or after September 1, 2006, and you have a Plan 1 loan, any outstanding debt is usually written off after 25 years. (However, the exception is Scotland, where the period before the loan is written off is 35 years.)
  • If you have a Plan 2 loan, any outstanding balance is usually written off after 30 years.

If you’re declared permanently unfit for work or permanently disabled, the Student Loan Company will write off your loan. It’ll also be written off if you die.

Can I pause my student loan repayments?

It’s unlikely that you can pause your student loan repayments – the money you owe is taken directly from your salary pre-tax, so it’s as if you never had it to begin with.

We would advise that you speak to the Student Loans Company if you’re having issues with repaying your student loan – currently, the only way to stop making payments is to earn less than £18,330 (if you have a Plan 1 loan), or £25,000 (if you have a Plan 2 loan).

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