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Biggest student loan debt £66,000

The biggest student loan in England stands at £66,150, it has been revealed.

And the 20 largest student debts owed to the Student Loans Company total more than £1 million, according to a Freedom of Information Act request by the BBC.

All but one of the students involved went to institutions in London and were on courses that lasted at least five years, such as medicine and law.

Universities Minister David Willetts said the figures owed were "unusual" but that those people were likely to earn substantial sums later in their careers.

The disclosure came after MPs voted to raise tuition fees to £6,000 last December, with institutions able to charge up to £9,000 in "exceptional circumstances".

But there are already signs that universities are planning to charge the maximum, or close to it, despite pleas from ministers.

Cambridge University, Imperial College London and Exeter University are among those who have already announced plans to charge £9,000, and Oxford has said it will need to charge at least £8,000 to maintain current funding.

These leading universities are expected to be joined by less prestigious institutions in imposing the maximum charge, amid fears that setting lower fees may saddle them with a reputation of offering "cut-price" education.

Mr Willetts told BBC Radio 4's Money Box programme: "Under the proposed new system, you will pay 9% on all your earnings over £21,000, instead of the current threshold of £15,000. If you earned £25,000, repayments would be about £30 a month. The burden of the monthly repayment is what really matters to people."

Lynne Condell, chairwoman of the National Association of Student Money Advisers, said students should not be put off furthering their education by the prospect of debt, adding: "There's so much value in going to university. It's not just about the money. It's a life-changing experience."


From Belfast Telegraph