Higher Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 28th July 2020.

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Photo of Neil O'Brien Neil O'Brien Conservative, Harborough

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the annual cost to the public purse of the higher education student finance system by 2030 in the absence of policy changes.

Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan Minister of State (Education)

The department publishes forecasts of higher education student numbers, student loan outlay and student loan repayments in England. The most recent publication (June 2019) is available at:


These forecasts assume policies as set in June 2019 and the forecast of economic conditions at that point by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). The forecasts of student loan outlay in 2020-21 and 2030-31 are also repeated in the attached table.

The long-term cost to the government of the student finance system depends on the proportion of the student loan outlay which is expected to be repaid. We do not routinely publish forecasts of the cost of student loans to the public purse to 2030 due to the high level of uncertainty inherent in such longer-term forecasts of income-contingent loans.

Updates to this forecast will be published in ‘Student loan forecasts, England: 2019 to 2020’, which is pre-announced for publication in September 2020.

76892_table (Excel SpreadSheet, 45 KB)

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