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Financing your studies

Student loan repayment calculator

A student loan repayment calculator can give you an idea of how much you might expect to pay back and over what period of time.

Mortarboard on pennies for student loan

How does the calculator work?

The figures are only broad indicators of potential outcomes and shouldn’t be considered as financial advice. The calculator is intended for students from England and Wales who began university after autumn 2012.

Student loan repayment calculator (Money Saving Expert)

How are the results calculated?

This calculator estimates how much you may repay overall, assuming your likely starting salary. The results are for illustrative purposes only since the exact repayments will depend on the actual salary earned throughout the period. 

It’s important to note that repayments are based on your earnings, and that many students are unlikely to repay the loan before it is written off (see the foot of this page).

Student loan repayment plans

Repayment plans depend on when you started university.

Plan 1 is for:

  • English or Welsh students who started an undergraduate course in the UK before 1 September 2012
  • Scottish or Northern Irish students who started an undergraduate or postgraduate course in the UK after 1 September 1998
  • EU students who started an undergraduate course in England or Wales after 1 September 1998 but before 1 September 2012
  • EU students who started an undergraduate or postgraduate course in Scotland or Northern Ireland after 1 September 1998

Plan 2 is for: 

  • English or Welsh students who started an undergraduate course in the UK after 1 September 2012
  • EU students who started an undergraduate course in England or Wales after 1 September 2012
  • Anyone took out an Advanced Learner Loan after 1 August 2013

Postgraduate loans also need to be repaid and have a different repayment schedule. 

Plan 1

From April 2020, repayments under this plan will start when you earn over £19,390 a year, £1,615 a month or £372 a week. This threshold changes each year in line with inflation and from 6 April 2021 will increase to £19,895. Students from Scotland may get a different threshold from April 2021, with the Scottish Government committing to increasing it to £25,000.

You'll pay 9% of the amount you earn over the threshold. For example, if your monthly income is £2,000, it means your earnings over the current threshold are £385. Your student loan repayment would be 9% of this amount. 

Interest rates are usually set in September but may change ad hoc. Although they are based on the cost of living (measured by the retail price index or RPI), they are capped if the Bank of England ‘base rate’ interest is low. From 1 September 2020, Plan 1 interest rates are 1.1%.

Plan 2 

Currently, repayments under Plan 2 will start when you earn over £26,565 a year, £2,214 a month or £511 a week. These thresholds change on 6 April every year to keep pace with average earnings. From 6 April 2021 the threshold increases to £27,295. 

For example, if your monthly income is £2,500, this is £286 above the current repayment threshold and you’d pay 9% of this amount.

The interest rates for Plan 2 are more complicated than Plan 1. To keep the interest rate level with the cost of living, it is based on the retail price index (RPI). The RPI that applies to loan interest is set in September each year and applies until the following August. From 1 September 2020 it is set at 2.6%.

From when you receive your first payment during your studies until the April after you leave your course, your interest rate will be RPI plus 3%, i.e. 5.6%.

After that, the interest is calculated based on your income:

Your annual income

Interest rate

£27,295 or less

RPI (2.6% from 1 September 2020)

£27,295 to £49,130

RPI (2.6%) plus up to 3%

Over £49,130

RPI (2.6%) plus 3%

Postgraduate loan 

In England and Wales, if you have a postgraduate loan, repayments will start when you earn over £21,000 a year, £1,750 a month or £404 a week. Unlike Plan 1 and Plan 2 loans, there is no annual increase to this threshold.

You’ll then pay 6% of the amount you earn over £21,000. For example, if you earn £2,000 a month, you’ll pay back 6% of the £250 you earn over the threshold.

Interest earned on a postgraduate loan is RPI plus 3%. Interest rates change annually, and from 1 September 2020 it is 5.6% (made up of 2.6% RPI plus 3%).

Students with a postgraduate loan from Northern Ireland or Scotland make repayments based on Plan 1.


What happens if you move abroad?

Student loans will still have to be repaid even if you move abroad and work for an overseas employer. Make sure you inform the Student Loans Company (SLC) of your employment and country of residence so they can calculate what you need to repay. If you don’t, you may be charged maximum interest while you’re away. 

The repayment rules stay the same, but different countries have different thresholds for repayment. Find out the thresholds and abroad rate of repayment for Plan 1, Plan 2 and Postgraduate loans.

Does my debt get written off?

Your student loan will get written off after a number of years, calculated from the April after you graduate.

Plan 1 student loans will be written off after 25 years – except for students from Scotland, in which case it’s 30 years. Plan 2 loans and postgraduate loans have 30 years before they're written off.

Student loans issued before 2007 don’t get written off until you turn 65.

Contrary to popular belief and rumour, your student loan won’t get written off or cancelled if you move abroad for any number of years. However, it’s only likely to be high earners who will have repaid their loan before it's cancelled.

Can you pay it off more quickly?

It’s possible to pay off your student debt more quickly using your online account or by bank transfer. 

It’s worth thinking carefully and doing your maths if you want to pay more (which must be done on top of regular payments) as you may end up overpaying.

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