New research by the Sutton Trust has shown that 73% will not pay back their student loans until they are in their 40s and 50s.
Tuition fees rose to £9,000 a year in 2012, trebling the maximum of £3,000 instated from 1998-2011. The income threshold for paying this back has risen with the fees, from £16,190 to £21,000.
With it, the interest rate has gone up to an above-inflation rate of 3%, and it has been estimated that students under this new system will be leaving university with £20,000 more debt. The average graduate debt is now estimated to stand at £44,000.
The old system would wipe out any remaining debt after 25 years, and this has now been increased to 30 years. But it is still expected that many students will not pay back their loans and so much debt will eventually be written off.
However, the research did also suggest that there has been an increase in students from less privileged backgrounds gaining university places.
There have long been concerns about the fiscal implications of charging students tuition fees – and the recent rise has prompted student protests across the country. Now that it is estimated that only 5% will pay off their debts by the time they are 40 – compared with half under the old system, they have come under even harder scrutiny.
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