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Frequently asked questions

 
 

Income based loans

What is an income based loan?

An income based loan is money that you borrowed to help with your studies.


This could have been a Maintenance Loan to help you with your day-to-day costs, or a Tuition Fee Loan paid by us, on your behalf, to your university or college to cover the costs of your tuition fees. You have to pay these loans back.


This type of loan is also known as an Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) loan.


If you received any additional grants or bursaries you do not pay these back.


Can my income based loan be written off?

Yes, there are different rules for loan write-off depending on where you normally lived when you entered university or college and when you took out your first loan.


When your loan will be written off


If you took out your loan when you lived in: It will be cancelled if you:
England or Wales - Before 1st September 2012
  • took out your first student loan in or before academic year 2005/06, then it will be cancelled when you turn 65; or
  • took out your first student loan in or after academic year 2006/07, then it will be cancelled 25 years after you became eligible to repay
Scotland
  • took out your first student loan in or before academic year 2006/07, then it will be cancelled when you turn 65; or
  • took out your first student loan in or after academic year 2007/08, then it will be cancelled 35 years after you became eligible to repay
Northern Ireland
  • took out your first student loan in or before academic year 2005/06, then it will be cancelled when you turn 65; or
  • took out your first student loan in or after academic year 2006/07, then it will be cancelled 25 years after you became eligible to repay

If you receive a disability-related benefit and are permanently unfit for work, we can cancel the loan. However, we cannot cancel a loan unless we receive medical confirmation together with evidence of your disability benefit.


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Your loan balance

How can I find out how much I still owe?

You can login to your student loan repayment account using the login link on this page, and use the Balance Calculator to work out how much you have left to pay.


You will need to have details of:

  • all deductions that have been taken from your pay; and
  • any repayments you have made to HM Revenue & Customs through Self Assessment

since we were last advised of your repayments through the tax system.


If you have not logged in to your account before, visit the section about how to use your online account.


What should I do if I think I have paid off my loan since I received my last statement?

You should contact us with details of all the deductions that have been taken from your pay, or that you have paid to HM Revenue & Customs since the date of your last statement.


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Repayment of your loan

How do I repay my income based loan?

Your repayments are normally collected through the tax system by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).


This will either be:

  • through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) scheme if you are the employee of a company; or
  • directly to HMRC through Self Assessment.

What is Pay As You Earn (PAYE)?

This is where your employer deducts a student loan repayment directly from your pay slip. For more information, see the section on Repaying through PAYE


What if I pay tax through Self Assessment?

If you are self-employed you will be responsible for calculating and paying your student loan repayments to HM Revenue & Customs. For more information, see the section on Repaying through Self Assessment


How much do I repay?

You will repay 9% of anything you earn over the income threshold.


The UK income threshold is:

  • £16,910 before tax per year
  • £1,409 before tax per month
  • £325 before tax per week

For example, if you earn £1,650 per month, you would pay 9% of £241, or £21 per month to your student loan.


Please see the section on Overseas thresholds for information about income thresholds in other countries.


Can I make additional repayments?

Yes. You can make additional repayments by credit or debit card at any time, directly to us, by using the Make a Payment service.

For more information about other methods of repayment available, visit the Payment options section.


How do I repay if I am living overseas?

If you are employed overseas or are outwith the UK tax system you will make student loan repayments directly to us. For more information, see the section on income based loan repayment from overseas


What should I do if I think I have nearly paid off my loan?

You can login to your student loan repayment account using the login link on this page, and use the Balance Calculator to work out how much you have left to pay.


If you are within a few months of paying your loan off in full, or if you have already paid it off, you should contact us with details of all the repayments you have made since the date of your last statement.


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Interest on your loan

What is the current interest rate?

The interest rate on income based loans can be found on the Interest Rates page.


Why have I been charged interest?

Interest is applied to student loans from the moment you receive your first payment until your loan is paid off in full.


How and when is the interest rate decided?

The interest rate is set by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) each year. It is normally based on the Retail Price Index each March and takes effect from the September of that year.


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Your loan statement

When are statements issued?

We issue a statement to you shortly after HM Revenue & Customs notify us about any repayments you have made during the previous tax year.


We are normally notified of your repayments once a year, after the end of the tax year. the time of the year that we receive this notification can vary from year to year which means you may not receive a statement from us annually.


Why aren’t they issued more frequently?

We can only issue a statement to you once we receive notification about your repayments from HM Revenue & Customs.


Why does my statement show the wrong amount of repayment?

This usually happens if you have more than one employer in the tax year. Once HM Revenue & Customs send us your updated tax year information, including student loan deductions from any additional employers, we will adjust your balance and send you a new statement.


If you only had one employer during the tax year, please contact us and have your P60 from the relevant tax year to hand.


Why have I received a statement showing an outstanding balance when I have paid my loan off in full?

You should check the period shown on the statement. If you paid your loan off in full after this period it will show on your next statement.

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If you have received a letter from us regarding the start of repayment of your loan

Why have you sent me a letter advising I am due to start repayment of my Income Contingent Loan?

You become eligible to repay your Income Contingent Loan in the April following your graduation date, or date you leave your course. As this date approaches we contact HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and ask them to confirm your current employment status to us. The letter you have received provides confirmation of the employment status HMRC currently holds for you.


Your employment status can be one of the following:

  • You are currently in employment – HMRC will instruct your employer to deduct student loan repayments from your salary once your income before tax exceeds the repayment threshold. See How repayments are calculated for more information.
  • You are currently in receipt of benefits – this includes benefits such as Jobseekers Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or an Occupational Pension. You are not required to make any student loan repayments in this case.
  • You were overseas but have returned to the UK - HMRC has informed us that you are now back in the UK and are employed or subject to self assessment. If this information is incorrect, and you will still be overseas for a period of 3 months or more, please contact us to confirm this and we will update our records and reinstate your overseas repayment schedule.

Your letter advises that I am currently in employment, but this is incorrect. Why have you sent me this letter and what should I do?

You do not need to take any action at this time.


The letter you have received represents the most up to date information we have from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).


If it is incorrect we will send you a Confirmation of Customer Details Pack once HMRC confirms this to us. This pack requests the current details of your circumstances.


Do I have to inform my employer that student loan repayments are to be made from my salary?

You should not need to take any action as HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will normally instruct your employer to take deductions from your salary once you are earning over the repayment threshold. See How repayments are calculated for more information.


If you are earning over the repayment threshold and no deductions are being taken from your salary from the date advised on your letter, please check with your employer if they have received a Start Notification from HMRC.


If your employer has not received a Start Notification from HMRC, please call us on 0300 100 0611 to advise your current employment details i.e.

  • Name and address of your employer
  • Your employer’s PAYE Reference Number
  • Your payroll number
  • Date you commenced employment with your employer

We will contact HMRC with this information and they will issue another Start Notification to your employer.


What should I do if my circumstances change?

If your salary changes you do not need to do anything as your employer will only deduct 9% of your salary before tax over the repayment threshold.


If you change your employer they should give you a P45 form with box 5 marked with a Y. This is an instruction to your new employer to deduct repayments from your salary once it exceeds the repayment threshold.


If your previous employer has not given you a P45 form you can ask your new employer for form P46 and you should mark the relevant box on this to show you are eligible to make student loan repayments.


If you leave employment you do not need to inform us of this as no deductions can be taken while you are unemployed (although you may be liable to make student loan repayments via HM Revenue & Customs if you complete a Self Assessment return).


HM Revenue & Customs will advise us you are no longer in employment and we will then issue you with a Confirmation of Customer Details Pack requesting you supply us with details of your circumstances at that time.


What if I want to repay more or less than is being deducted from my salary?

Your employer cannot take deductions that are more or less than 9% of your gross salary over the repayment threshold.


If you wish to make additional repayments to your student loan, please see information about How to repay more Quickly


Where can I get further information regarding my Income Contingent Loan repayments?

Please refer to the booklet 'Repaying your student loan' in the Reference Guides section for more information on repayments.


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If you have received a Confirmation of Customer Details pack

I have received a Confirmation of Customer Details pack, why has this been sent to me?

This has been sent to you because HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has informed us that they do not have a record of you:

  • currently being in employment in the UK, or
  • being in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or an Occupational Pension.

There are two forms with the pack, a UK Form and an Overseas Form.

Complete and return the UK Form if:

  • You are working in the UK; or
  • You are resident in the UK but not working.

Complete and return the Overseas Form only if:

  • You are working overseas for a period of 3 months or more; or
  • You are overseas for a period of 3 months or more and are not working.

Note: If you will be overseas for less than 3 months you should complete the UK Form.

Please note that if you are overseas and do not fully complete and return an overseas form to us an overseas default amount will be applied to your account - See overseas thresholds for more information


What should I do if I am working in the UK?

Please fully complete the UK Form and return this to us, even if student loan deductions are currently being taken from your salary. This is to ensure that both HMRC and Student Loans Company records are accurate and up to date.


You must return the original form as we cannot accept photocopies or faxes.


If your National Insurance number or Date of birth is shown incorrectly on the form, please note the correct details in the boxes provided.


If no National Insurance number is shown on the form, please provide us with this if you have one.


Please also note any changes/updates to your address etc on the reverse of the UK Form.


We would particularly ask you to provide us with your employer’s PAYE Reference Number. An employer’s PAYE Reference Number is shown on your P60 and sometimes on payslips. The format of an employer’s PAYE Reference Number is 3 numbers followed by / and then alpha numeric characters.


If this information is not shown on your payslips, and you have not yet received a P60, please ask your employer for this information.


On receipt of your fully completed UK Form we will contact HMRC who will update their records with this information. HMRC will acknowledge this to us and issue a Start Notification to your employer instructing them to take student loan deductions from your salary once you are earning over the repayment threshold.


If you are self-employed – please note your Unique Tax Payer Reference Number (UTR) on the form. This is a ten digit number provided by HMRC. If you do not have a UTR, please contact your Local Tax Office for information and advice.


You will receive a letter from the Student Loans Company in due course confirming deductions will be taken where applicable.


For more information, see How repayments are calculated


Please note that we will be unable to process your form without the required information.

What should I do if I am in the UK but not working?

You should fully complete the form and return this to us together with evidence of your current means of support.


If your National Insurance Number or Date of Birth is shown incorrectly on the form, please note the correct details in the boxes provided.


If no National Insurance Number is shown on the form, please provide us with this if you have one.


Please also note any changes/updates to your address etc on the reverse of the UK Form.


Please do not send original documents to us as these will not be returned. All required supporting evidence should be in the form of clear photocopies.


Some common circumstances are:


You are unemployed and in receipt of benefits

Please provide us with clear photocopy evidence of Job Seekers Allowance - dated within the last 3 months.


If you are in receipt of other benefits, please supply us with clear photocopy evidence of these benefits (dated within the last year).


If your benefits are paid directly into your bank account, please provide us with a clear photocopy of one of your bank statements (dated within the last 3 months) which shows your name, address and the benefits being paid to you.


You can also ask the Benefits Agency to stamp the form and have someone there record their signature and the current date beside the stamp.


Note: We cannot accept evidence of Child Support as this is not your benefit, nor can we accept bank statements older than 3 months, and/or which do not show your name and address and/or which show you have insufficient funds to support yourself.


You are being supported by a 3rd party

Please provide us with a signed letter from that person confirming they are supporting you financially. They do not need to specify any amounts, only that they are providing you with financial support.


You are still studying

Please return the form to us if you are currently in receipt of financial support from the Student Loans Company. Write your Customer Reference Number on the form for the grant or loan applicable to the current academic year.


If you are not in receipt of further support from us, please provide evidence of your means of support while you are studying, e.g. 3rd party support letter, a clear photocopy of a bank loan agreement, a clear photocopy of a grant award letter, a clear photocopy of a letter from your HEI confirming your place on a course or a clear photocopy of your Student Card providing it covers the current academic year.


You are living from savings

Please provide us with a clear photocopy of one of your bank statements (dated within the last 3 months) which shows your name, address and the funds you are living from.


On receipt of your fully completed UK Form, confirming you are not currently in employment, we will record this information on our records and you will not be required to make any student loan repayments at this time (although you may be liable to make student loan repayments via HM Revenue & Customs if you complete a Self Assessment return).


Please note that we will be unable to process your form without the required information.

You should advise us immediately if you become employed or go overseas for more than 3 months. We will contact you again regarding repayments if HMRC advise us that you are in employment in the UK.


If you are having any difficulty in completing the UK Form, please call us on 0300 100 0611 to speak to one of our advisors.


What should I do if I am overseas for more than 3 months and working?

You should fully complete the overseas form and return this to us together with clear photocopy evidence of your salary. This can be:

  • Clear photocopies of your last 3 months payslips;
  • A clear copy of your contract of employment dated within the last 6 months;
  • A letter from your employer, dated within the last 6 months, on headed paper confirming your gross salary (Note: Gross salary can be advised as weekly, monthly or annually.)

Please note that we will be unable to process your form without the required information and failure to provide this will result in an Overseas Default amount being applied to your student loan account - Overseas repayment thresholds (more information)

What should I do if I am overseas for more than 3 months and Self Employed?

You should fully complete the overseas form and return this to us together with evidence of your income from Self Employment.


We will accept your fully completed overseas form with no evidence if you tick the Self Employed (first year) box. However, you will have to provide us with evidence for self employment in subsequent years e.g. clear photocopy evidence of your Tax Assessment, profit and loss accounts, accountant’s letter etc .


Please note that we will be unable to process your form without the required information and failure to provide this will result in an Overseas Default amount being applied to your student loan account - Overseas repayment thresholds (more information)

What should I do if I am overseas for more than 3 months and not working?

Please complete the overseas form and return this to us together with evidence of your current means of support.


Some of the possible circumstances are the same as indicated above for customers not working in the UK e.g. you may be being supported by a 3rd party or living from savings etc.


If you are in receipt of State Support overseas, please ensure that the evidence you provide is dated within the last 6 months.

If you will be working with a Voluntary Organisation overseas, please provide us with a letter from that organisation on headed paper confirming this.


If you are having any difficulty in completing the Overseas Form, please call us on 0300 100 0611 to speak to one of our advisors or, if you are calling from overseas, on + 44 141 243 3660.


Please note that we will be unable to process your form without the required information and failure to provide this will result in an Overseas Default amount being applied to your student loan account - Overseas repayment thresholds (more information)


I am a parent/3rd party - What do I do if a Confirmation of Customer Details pack has been received for a customer who is currently overseas?

If the customer is not currently in the UK and will be overseas for a period of less than 3 months, they should complete the UK Form and return this to us immediately upon their return to the UK.


If the customer is not currently in the UK and will be overseas for a period of 3 months or more, you can take the following actions on their behalf:

  • Send the Overseas Form to the customer for them to complete and return this to us with the required evidence;
  • Advise the customer that they can print off an Overseas Form (597kB) from this website and return it to us with the required evidence.
  • If you are supporting the customer financially, you can complete the overseas form on their behalf and return this to us with a signed letter confirming you are currently supporting them while they are overseas.
  • You can complete and return the overseas form to us with the appropriate evidence if you have this to hand, e.g:
    • If the customer is living from savings while overseas, please provide us with a copy of their most recent bank statement showing the funds they are living from (please note that their name must be shown on this statement).
    • If the customer is working overseas, please provide us with evidence of their income from employment.

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Customers who are overseas – some general information

You should only complete an overseas form if your student loan is in repayment i.e. the April after you have completed or left your course and you will be overseas for a period of 3 or more months.


If your National Insurance number or Date of birth is shown incorrectly on the form, please note the correct details in the boxes provided.


If no National Insurance number is shown on the form, please provide us with this if you have one.


Note any changes/updates to your address etc on the reverse of the overseas form.


Also note in the boxes provided:


  • The date you left or will leave the UK
  • The date you will resume UK residency if known (please record this date only if you will be returning to the UK for a period of 3 months or more)

Completed overseas forms, and any required evidence, must be posted to us as we cannot accept faxed or emailed copies of these forms. Please do not send original documents to us as these will not be returned. All required supporting evidence should be in the form of clear photocopies.


The evidence you provide should be in English where possible to minimise the possibility of the form being returned to you incomplete.


Please also confirm to us the country you are resident in. If you are having difficulty in providing any of the evidence outlined previously, confirming your current circumstances, we may be able to accept your travel itinerary if this is from an official source – e.g. Trailfinders.


Once you have returned your fully completed overseas form to us, with the required evidence (clear photocopies only), we will send you a letter advising:


If you are eligible to make repayments - the amount you are due to repay each month in £ sterling and when the schedule commences.


If you have not completed a direct debit mandate, allowing any repayments to be made via a UK bank or building society, you will need to make an alternative arrangement to make repayments - please see here for further information on your Payment options


If you are not eligible to make repayments - we will confirm that you are currently Not Eligible to Repay.


Any overseas assessment will run for a period of 12 months unless you:


  • Return to the UK for a period of 3 months or more and provide us with confirmation of this
  • Request an ‘In Year Assessment’ because you have left employment or your salary decreases (any new assessment will then run for a period of 12 months)

Approximately 8 weeks prior to any existing overseas assessment ending, we will send you a new overseas form to complete and send to us.


If the repayment threshold changes for your country of residence, we will advise you of any change to your overseas repayment schedule.


Please note that there are certain circumstances where you may be working overseas but still be in the UK tax system e.g. British Army. If you are still in the UK tax system and paying National Insurance contributions, you will have student loan repayments deducted through your salary. If this applies to you, please fully complete and return the UK form to us.


If you are having any difficulty in completing the overseas form, please call us on 0300 100 0611 to speak to one of our advisors or, if you are calling from overseas, on + 44 141 243 3660.


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