Repaying your student loan

The Student Loans Company administers all UK student loans, wherever you’re from in the UK and wherever you attend university in the UK. It also manages student loans to EU students in the UK.

The student loan is not like a commercial loan – how you repay is based on your earnings. Student finance websites will have specific dates and figures for those paying back their student loans before 2016.

Note that you must apply to your correct student finance agency. This depends on where you live: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.

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What and when you repay  How you repay Interest • Exceptions

Pay Back Loan

What and when you repay

You will be eligible to start repaying your loan in the April after you have finished or left your course. What you repay will be depend on how much you earn, not how much you borrowed.

There is a minimum income threshold that students will have to earn before they begin to repay their student loan. In 2016, students from England and Wales will need to earn £21,000 and above. Students from Scotland and Northern Ireland will need to earn £17,495 and above. See SLC for information about loan repayments if you started your course before 1 September 2012.

All students will repay 9% of their income when they are earning above this threshold. If your income is below or drops below these amounts, you will not have to make repayments.

How you repay

If you:

  • Are employed in the UK your loan repayment will be collected through PAYE. It will be deducted from your gross pay with your income tax. The Student Loans Company and HM Revenue and Customs make the calculations.
  • Are self-employed repayments will be collected through the tax self-assessment system.
  • Intend to leave the country to work abroad you must inform the Student Loan Company. They will arrange to collect repayments directly from you.

The Student Loans Company will send you an annual statement of how much you have repaid in the tax year. You can find out how much you owe by logging on to the Student Loan Company website. Here you can find information about making a payment as well as accessing your current balance.

Remember, you can pay back all or some of your loan at any time without incurring an early repayment charge.

Use our Student Loan Repayment Calculator for an idea of how much you will pay for your university course, and how long it may take to pay it off.

Interest

Student loans attract interest. Interest on the amount you owe will be linked to inflation.

This will be added for the lifetime of the loan, starting from the day the money is sent to you. You will continue to repay your loan until you have paid off the full amount.

Exceptions

You will continue to pay off your full loan until you have paid off the full amount, with a few exceptions.

Students from England and Wales

  • Your loan will be cancelled if you become disabled and are registered as permanently unfit for any work, or if you die.
  • Any amount still owing 30 years after you commenced repayments will be cancelled.
  • If you leave your course early, you will have to repay any loans and grants you received by were not entitled to. In these circumstances, it is important that you contact your university/college and inform Student Finance England/Wales. You can contact the Student Loans Company on 0845 073 8889.

Note that a partial cancellation of maintenance loans taken out from Student Finance Wales will apply (up to £1,500). Eligibility will be automatic subject to certain conditions. This cancellation does not apply to tuition fee loans.

Students from Scotland and Northern Ireland

  • The length of time it takes to repay your student loan will depend on your income and the amount you borrowed.
  • Your loan will be cancelled if you become disabled and are registered as permanently unfit for any work, or if you die. 
  • Any amount still owing 35 (Scotland) 25 (Northern Ireland) years after you commenced repayments will be cancelled.
  • If you leave your course early, you will have to repay any loans and grants you received but were not entitled to. In these circumstances, it is important that you contact your university/college and inform SAAS/Student Finance NI.  You can also contact the Student Loans Company on 0845 073 8889.

See the SLC for more information.