Concerns raised over upcoming changes to student finance

By Ben Stevens

Students beginning university this autumn will have to pay more of their student loans back than previous students.

Students beginning their studies this September have raised concerns over the government’s upcoming changes as to how student loans are repaid.

The changes will see students proportionally pay back far more of any debts accrued from higher education than ever before.

Currently, the government pay 56p per £1 of a student’s university education. However, for young adults starting this September, this will fall dramatically to only 19p.

While these students won’t pay anything back on their loans and maintenance until 2026 at the earliest, the changes still come at a time where millions are facing financial hardship as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.

Freya Attwood, 19, who is looking to begin a psychology course in September, said: “It is really scary that we could be paying back our loans into our sixties.

“Everybody always says that you never notice your loan being paid but with us it is clearly going to be much more noticeable.

“Young people seem to be very unfortunate at the moment. First, we had to deal with Covid disrupting our education and now we have to pay lots more back on our loans.”

Mason Reynolds, 18, who is hoping to begin university in Leicester in September, said: “It’s a shame that we are going to be expected to pay more, but what can we do about it?

“I’m going to try and enjoy my university experience as much as I can. I need a degree for the career I want to have so I’ll just have to get on with it.”

As part of the changes, the government are reducing the annual income threshold in which graduates would begin to pay back their debt.

Future students will be paying far more per month to pay off their student debts. Source: GOV.UK. Graph created on Canva.

This currently stands at £27,295 but is being cut to £25,000, meaning far more people will begin to pay back their loans far sooner.

Furthermore, students commencing higher education this autumn could be paying their loans back for an extra ten years, as the 30-year wipe on the payments has been scrapped in favour of a 40-year wipe.

Pippa Campbell, a student finance expert, said: “Students undoubtedly will be worse off as a result of the changes to student finance.

“It won’t affect how much they will have to live on whilst they are at college or university, but certainly when they graduate they will, in effect, be paying back more per month than the current cohort of students.”

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