Overseas Students: Loans

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 2nd July 2012.

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Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

(1) what proportion of EU students are in arrears to the Student Loans Company;

(2) what estimate his Department has made of the level of debt owed by EU students to the Student Loans Company.

Photo of David Willetts David Willetts Minister of State (Universities and Science)

Data on student loan balances and numbers of EU borrowers as at 31 March 2012 is available from the Statistical First Release on Student Loans for Higher Education published by the Student Loans Company (SLC) at


This shows that there were 65,400 borrowers with EU Tuition Fee Loans of which 1,300 had fully repaid (Table 2 iii). The balance outstanding (including loans not yet due for repayment) was £349.1 million (Table 1). The majority of these borrowers were still at university or had recently left and were therefore not yet liable to begin repaying. 18,900 borrowers were liable to repay their loans, which had a total balance of £110.3 million.

Information on repayment status as at 30 April 2012 is available from the SLC publication on Repayments by Repayment Cohort and Tax Year at


At this date, 2,800 or 9% of EU borrowers liable to repay were considered to be in arrears (Table 1 ii/iii). This figure includes a small number of accounts (400 or 1%) where borrowers have defaulted on their loan repayments. However, the majority are borrowers who are known to be overseas, have not provided details of their income, and have therefore been set up with repayment schedules and put into arrears in order that the SLC can commence tracing and legal action where appropriate. This is an essential step in the overseas collection process.

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