interest rates

Student loans and interest rates

by Madaline Dunn

According to the OECD England has the most expensive publicly-funded university system in the world. Back in 1998, student tuition fees were £1000 a year, which increased to £3000 in 2006, and then skyrocketed to £9000 in 2012. Alongside this massive hike in tuition fees, since 2012, maintenance grants and NHS bursaries have been abolished, forcing many to take on more debt in the form of loans, rather than benefiting from non-repayable grants.

Student loans come with interest, which is added all the time, and you may have seen recent reports that there are changes coming for student interest rates, which will reach up to 12% in some cases.

Interests and loans can be complicated at the best of times, and circulating reports may have you furrowing your brow, but at The Salary Calculator, we’ll walk you through all the changes and explain:

  • What’s going on with student loan interest rates
  • How you might be affected
  • Whether there are further changes ahead

Student loan interest rates

In England, according to government figures, the average amount of debt a student accumulates from their time studying is £45,000, and with fees and interest so high, few ever fully repay their loans. In fact, this percentage is at 20%

That said, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, students who took out a loan after 2012 are in for a “rollercoaster ride”. Interest rates on post-2012 student loans are based on the retail prices index, and after RPI rose in March, most graduates will see interest rates rise from 1.5% to 9%. Higher earners (with an income of £49,130 and above) will be hit the worst, however; the maximum interest rate on their loans will increase from 4.5% to 12% for half a year. 

According to estimates, this increase means that the average graduate with £50,000 debt will incur around £3,000 in interest over six months. The IFS study outlined: ​”That is not only vastly more than average mortgage rates, but also more than many types of unsecured credit,” adding: “Student loan borrowers might legitimately ask why the government is charging them higher interest rates than private lenders are offering.”

Looking ahead, Ben Waltmann, a senior research economist at the IFS, explained that unless the government makes changes to the way student loan interest is determined, there will be “wild swings in the interest rate over the next three years.” He outlined: “The maximum rate will reach an eye-watering level of 12% between September 2022 and February 2023 and a low of around zero between September 2024 and March 2025.”

He said that there is “no good economic reason for this.” Adding: “Interest rates on student loans should be low and stable, reflecting the government’s own cost of borrowing. The government urgently needs to adjust the way the interest rate cap operates to avoid a significant spike in September.”

To learn more about how the changes will specifically affect you, check out the government website, which provides a complete guide to terms and conditions. 

How will this affect you?

According to a Tweet by Michelle Donelan, the Minister of State for Higher Education, this interest rate hike on student loans has “no impact on monthly repayments.” Further to this, she said, “These will not increase for students. Repayments are linked to income, not interest rates.” However, not everyone agrees that the situation is as clear cut as this. 

The IFS’s Waltman explained that while it is true the interest rate on student loans has “no impact” on monthly repayments, it affects “how long those who do pay off their loans before the end of the repayment period have to make repayments and therefore the total amount these students repay over their lifetimes.”

In addition to this, the IFS said that one of the many detrimental effects of the hike could be discouraging students from going to university for fear of mounting financial costs, and with record hikes to the cost of living, this is a valid and reasonable concern. Alongside this, the IFS also said that the change might force some graduates to pay off large sums of debt when it “has no benefit for them”.

Are further changes ahead?

Aside from changes to interest on student loans, the government has announced proposals that will affect loan accessibility, too. In response to the Augar review of post-18 education, in February, the government announced plans to block students who ​​fail to attain English and Maths GCSEs or two A-levels at grade E from qualifying for a student loan.

Experts have warned that these new changes will detrimentally impact students from lower-socio-economic backgrounds the worst and put a “cap on aspiration”. Sir Peter Lampl, founder and executive chair of the Sutton Trust education charity, outlined: “The introduction of any minimum grade requirement is always going to have the biggest impact on the poorest young people, as they are more likely to have lower grades because of the disadvantages they have faced in their schooling.”

The government also outlined that the repayment threshold will be cut from £27,295 to £25,000 for new borrowers beginning courses from September 2023, and further to this; students will now pay off their debt for ten years longer (for 40 years rather than 30 years).

Speaking about the changes and their impact on graduates, Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: “It’s effectively a lifelong graduate tax for most.” Adding: “Only around a quarter of current [university] leavers are predicted to earn enough to repay in full now. Extending this period means the majority of lower and mid earners will keep paying for many more years, increasing their costs by thousands. Yet the highest earners who would clear [their debt] within the current 30 years won’t be impacted.”

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Wednesday, May 4th, 2022 Student Loan No Comments

None of the content on this website, including blog posts, comments, or responses to user comments, is offered as financial advice. Figures used are for illustrative purposes only.

The rising cost of living, loans and borrowing

by Madaline Dunn

Research shows that as the cost of living continues to rise, so too is borrowing – whether that’s via credit cards, or payday loans. While it can be tempting to opt for a loan in financially trying times, it’s important to keep your wits about you, and not rush into a decision without thoroughly researching.

At The Salary Calculator, we know how challenging it can be navigating the world of borrowing and loans, so below, we’ve outlined some top tips to bear in mind to keep yourself safe. This article will explore:

  • Why the cost of living is getting more expensive
  • How more people are borrowing than ever
  • How to protect yourself when borrowing

How is the cost of living getting more expensive?

The cost of living has reached crisis levels, leaving many in UK faced with their worst financial situation in decades. Fuel, housing, and food are all getting more expensive. According to the ONS, in February, Inflation hit a new 30-year high of 6.2%, and housing costs and services increased by 7.2% within the last year, too. Moreover, rental prices went up 2.3% and homeowners saw a hike of 2.5%.

Within the same time frame, transport costs have seen an increase of 11.5%, with petrol and diesel prices rising and even hitting record levels in February. Meanwhile, food and drink prices have soared by 5.1% – according to statistics, prices for bottled water, soft drinks, juices, meat, sugar, jam, syrups, chocolate and sweets increased the most.

Looking ahead, as the Russia-Ukraine war continues, with Russia and Ukraine being responsible for 30% of global wheat exports, food prices are only set to rise further.

It’s not just food, fuel and housing that’s seen a hike, either. Clothing and footwear have taken a hit, too, rising by 8.9%. Likewise, furniture, household equipment and maintenance saw a similar increase, rising by 9.2% in the past year.

Alongside the price rises, wages across the UK are now falling at their fastest rate since 2014. This is, again, because inflation is spiralling out of control.

More people borrowing than ever before

People across the UK are feeling the pinch as prices continue to soar and are turning to borrowing to help them cope with increasing financial hardship. According to figures published by the Bank of England (BoE), people borrowed a net £1.5 billion on credit cards in February, which is reportedly the highest since records began. This is even up from 2020, which saw nearly 9 million of the UK’s poorest significantly increase their borrowing amounts.

Joanna Elson, the chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, which runs the National Debtline and Business Debtline, said these borrowing statistics are “an indicator of the underlying challenges households face in meeting the growing cost of living” as she called on the chancellor to provide more targeted help for hard-pressed households.” Adding: “Our concern is that more people will be pushed to credit to cover rising bills, which could be storing up problems further down the line when repayments are due.”

Of course, credit card borrowing is not the only kind of borrowing, payday loans are lurking out there, too and according to reports, interest in these kinds of loans has been ballooning in recent months as living costs surge. Research from Raisin UK has found that in the last 12 months, internet searches for these kinds of loans shot up by 350%.

Experts, however, warn that payday loans, while sometimes attractive, are an easy route into a slippery path of debt. Kevin Mountford, Co-founder of Raisin UK, outlined: “It is easy to fall into a cycle of debt with these schemes if you continually require them to cover shortfalls. With rising interest rates, payday loans will most likely leave you struggling financially, even more as you will owe these companies a continually growing amount of money.”

Adverts for this kind of predatory loan are on the rise and appearing on Google, too. A recent report found that those who searched terms like “quick money now” and “need money help”​ were directed by Google to sites offering high-interest loans to those in financial difficulty. One site advertised when individuals searched for the above terms was Tendo Loan, which offered “Cash in 10 minutes guaranteed. 3-36 months. No credit check!” The site went on to say that those looking to find a loan could have it “delivered faster than pizza!”

How to protect yourself when borrowing

It’s undeniable that millions of people in the UK are facing increasing financial hardship, and predictions are that it is only going to get worse. By 2023, it’s said that as many as 16 million people could be officially classed as living in poverty. So, it’s understandable that some may be faced with no other option than to borrow. That said, when borrowing, regardless of who you’re borrowing from, it’s important you safeguard yourself. Below, we’ve highlighted some top tips.

Research, research, research

When financially desperate, it’s easy to get caught up in signing a loan that you know little about. So, it’s important to make sure you research. Research into the company, make sure that they’re reputable and trustworthy, and get all the facts about the loan, including and especially the small print.

Don’t get conned into borrowing more than you asked for

Lenders may try and talk you into borrowing more than you were looking for or encourage you to opt for a different kind of loan. Make sure whatever decision you make is informed, and not pressured. Take your time, and stick to your guns.

Don’t overcommit, and make sure you can pay back whatever you borrow

Make sure you review your finances before committing yourself to a loan. Entering an agreement with high-interest rates may lead you down a debt hole that’s hard to get out of, and leave you in a worse position than when you started.

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Tuesday, April 5th, 2022 Economy No Comments

Interest rates in the UK

by Madaline Dunn

When it comes to borrowing, be it for a mortgage or a loan, an interest rate will be applied to the amount you borrow. The same goes for any savings you accumulate. That said, it can be tricky to get your head around the ins and outs of interest rates.

According to a study conducted by MoneySuperMarket, 70% of those polled didn’t know what the base rate was. That means there are lots of people out there that could do with a helping hand.

At The Salary Calculator, we’ll give you the rundown of interest rates in the UK and make sure you’re updated with the latest. This article will explain:

  • What an interest rate is
  • What the base rate is 
  • What the current interest rates are
  • The different types of interest rates
  • Whether or not interest rates will rise
  • The pros and cons of the current low rates

What is an interest rate?

An interest rate refers to either the percentage an individual is charged for borrowing money or earned through saving. It is typically expressed as a percentage of the amount you borrow or save over a year.

What is the base rate?

The base rate or bank rate is the most important interest rate in the UK and refers to the rate at which banks and lenders are charged for borrowing. Currently, this rate is 0.1% which influences borrowing and saving interest rates.

Current rates

Interest varies from bank to bank, but often it can cost more to borrow less. According to MoneySavingExpert, the best interest rates for loans of between £3,000 – £4,999 range from 7.3% rep APR and 8.4% rep APR.

For larger amounts, for example, between £15,001 – £20,000, the best interest rates range from between 2.8% rep APR and 2.9% rep APR.

When it comes to savings, easy access accounts with best rates range from between 0.4% AER variable and 0.5% AER variable.

The different types of interest rates

There are a few different types of interest rates, these are:

Fixed Rate of Interest – With this interest rate, the amount you are paid, or the amount you owe, is at a set rate that remains unchanged throughout the term of your account. 

Variable Rate of Interest – Also known as a “floating rate,” with this interest rate, the amount of interest you are paid or the amount of interest you owe can change depending on the base rate.

When exploring loans and savings, you will likely run into two other terms, APR and AER. But what exactly do they mean? 

APR – Annual Percentage Rate: This refers to the total cost of borrowing money in a year (loan or credit card). Included within this are interest and standard fees.

AER – Annual Equivalent Rate: This type of interest applies to saving accounts and is the amount you earn in a year.     

Will interest rates rise?

It is difficult to determine for sure whether interest rates will rise. However, considering the current state of the economy, having shrunk by 19.8% in 2020, interest rates are unlikely to rise any time soon.

The pros and cons of the current low rates

When it comes to low interest rates, there are, of course, advantages and disadvantages. These are as follows:

Pros:

  • Lower interest rates make it easier for people to borrow money
  • When borrowing is made more accessible, this can drive investment
  • Low rates can also make housing more affordable by lowering mortgage payments

On the other hand…

Cons:

  • Lower interest rates can detrimentally impact savers because they earn less through interest
  • As a result, this can reduce the incentive to save
  • Low interest can also lead to people taking on more debt than they can afford 

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Friday, May 28th, 2021 Loans, Mortgages, Savings No Comments

Save money with offset mortgage

by Admin

Over on our sister site LoanTutor, there is a new tool and a new article trying to explain what an offset mortgage is and how it could help you save money. With an offset mortgage, you use your savings to effectively cancel out some of your mortgage balance, which reduces the interest your lender charges you. You can use this to either reduce your monthly payments, or keep your payments the same and pay off your mortgage quicker.

If you would like to learn more, have a read of the offset mortgage article, or to see how much you might be able to save try out the offset mortgage calculator.

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Thursday, November 29th, 2012 Mortgages No Comments

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