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Students overcharged £15m for their loans

Students overcharged £15m for their loans

Category: Money

Updated: 15/12/2010
First Published: 15/12/2010

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

The Student Loans Company (SLC) has been found to have continued to take money from some students who had already fully repaid their student loans.

New research from Which? revealed that the SLC had taken more than £15 million in overpayments from ex-students this year, up from the figure of £9 million
overcharged in 2009.

Using Freedom of Information requests, Which? found that 57,000 ex-students are waiting for refunds from SLC after excess repayments were taken from their accounts, despite having paid off their loans in full.

Student loans are repaid through monthly Pay As You Earn instalments that are managed by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

While SLC is supposed to notify HMRC when a loan has been paid in full, Which? found some students were still making repayments eleven months after the loan was repaid.

In order to claim back excess payments, Which? said ex-students face a long and complicated reimbursement process.

In one instance, an ex-student had to wait over six months for his excess repayments to be refunded and even then his refund was two months short.

"How is it possible that for at least the second year running the Student Loans Company has overcharged ex-students by millions of pounds?" said Which? chief executive, Peter Vicary-Smith.

"We know that paying off a debt is a stressful experience, so the last thing people need is to find that they've been paying out more than they needed to.

"The SLC must ensure they don't keep ex-students 'in debt' for longer than they need to be."

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