student loan

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.

April 2019 tax rates

by Admin

The Salary Calculator has been updated with the tax rates which will take effect from 6th April 2019. There is a significant increase in the tax-free Personal Allowance from £11,850 to £12,500 per year, and outside of Scotland the threshold from 20% basic rate to 40% higher rate income tax has been increased to £50,000. Scottish tax thresholds are different from the rest of the UK, current information suggests that they will not increase as much as the UK rates will.

There have also been increases in the thresholds for Plan 1 and Plan 2 Student Loan repayments, so those paying off their loans will find their repayments lowered in the new year.

You can try out the April 2019 tax rates for yourself by choosing “2019 / 20” in the Tax Year drop-down on The Salary Calculator. You can also see a side-by-side comparison of 2018 and 2019 with the 2018 and 2019 income tax comparison page.

The calculator has been updated with the best information currently available – if any of the details change before the start of the tax year the calculator will be updated to reflect those changes.

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A new beginning for 2015

by Admin

As 2015 opens, it seems everyone I know is starting a new job! A common theme of conversations I’ve had is either promotions or moving jobs to a new company and new horizons. January is a popular time for people to make a fresh start, and what better way to do that than with a new job?

If you’re considering a move then The Salary Calculator is here to help – find out how much that new salary would bring home for you with the take home pay calculator, or even compare it side-by-side with your current salary with the salary comparison calculator. Maybe you’re thinking of improving your home life with a move to part-time work? The pro-rata salary calculator can help you see what would happen to your take-home if you reduced your hours in your current job.

Maybe 2015 for you is the year you go to university, or one in which you consider it. If this applies to you then I highly recommend Money Saving Expert’s page about the cost of university, and what those fees and loans mean – don’t make a decision about the cost of studying until you’ve read this guide, or at least watched the short video summary which appears just above point number 5.

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