Largest student loan in the UK revealed to be close to £200,000


December 2021

Largest student loan in the UK revealed to be close to £200,000

If you’re worried about paying your student loan back, this should make you feel a bit better: The largest university debt in the UK has been revealed to be a stomach-churning £189,000. 

The discovery was made following a freedom of information act from ex-student Craig Rossiter, with the findings posted on Reddit. Craig’s thread started gaining traction with dozens of comments highlighting the large amounts of interest that was being accrued from student loans. 

Many of the respondents owed huge amounts, sometimes as much as £100k. Craig himself owed £61,000 as a result of having to re-enroll numerous times due to personal issues.

Responding to the revelation, The Student Loan company highlighted that this was an ‘exceptional case’ but did not specify exactly how the unlucky student managed to accrue such a debt. Rather, they suggested that it was most likely due to someone enrolling in multiple courses much like Craig had.

The entire saga has reignited the conversation about student loans and the interest accumulated. It’s been a contentious topic for some time, but became especially visceral in 2009 when the limit that universities could charge for tuition tripled to £9,000. 

Nick Clegg’s promises that this wouldn't happen only a couple of years before offering extra sting to students who felt like they had been let down by the coalition. Proposals to reduce the threshold at which students repay their loans from £27,000 to £23,000 was naturally met with low levels of enthusiasm

A recent report, published by the Higher Education Policy Institute found that those graduating in 2020 had an average debt of £45,060. Out of the 98 students who took part in the study, a large proportion said that “tuition fees and interest rates are too high, the amount of debt owed is a burden and the loan repayment period never-ending”. The current interest rate is 5.6%, which is far higher than the vast majority of personal loans.

Claire Callender, professor of higher education at UCL and one of the report’s authors, said: “It is essential we listen to graduates to develop evidence-based, sustainable and fair higher education funding policies in the future.” Said Claire Callender, one of the report's authors.

“Why should the loans of even the poorest post-2012 students accrue such high interest rates while they are studying and before they reap any benefits from their higher education? Why burden students psychologically and materially with enormous debts when most will never fully repay them?”