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Thursday, June 30, 2022

I’m still repaying my repaid student loan | Student finance

I repaid my student loan early, but the Student Loans Company (SLC) is still deducting repayments – £1,089 over two months – from my earnings. The problem began when SLC assigned my final, lump‑sum payment to the wrong account. Its systems therefore show me as owing £12,000. It has admitted an error, but can’t say when I’ll be refunded.

SM, London

Student loan repayments are crippling enough, but judging from the cries of pain in my inbox it seems that technical problems, human error and buck-passing by SLC and HMRC are compounding the issue.

JA from Torquay has also appealed to me after reading my report last year on a graduate who feared she was overpaying thousands of pounds because SLC was unable to confirm her balance.

“I haven’t been able to view a statement since 2019,” JA wrote. “SLC says it doesn’t know my balance as HMRC has put a mark on my account. HMRC says it can’t help.”

It’s deeply concerning that problems deemed intractable by SLC and HMRC when a customer complains can be miraculously solved if a headline looms. SLC was able to pinpoint its error in SM’s case within two days of my contact. “We apologise that when he called to pay off his student loan we incorrectly applied the payment to the bursary element of his account, instead of his loan balance.” He was refunded his overpaid £1,089 the next day.

HMRC and SLC investigated JA’s situation at my instigation, and discovered that his employer had miscalculated the loan repayments deducted three years ago. “The account has been impacted by a discrepancy in the amount of deductions reported by his employer to HMRC for the 19/20 tax year,” SLC says. “This has caused an additional repayment of £63, which he did not, in fact, have to pay, to be applied to his student loan account. Due to this discrepancy, access to his online account was restricted.”

HMRC confirmed it was rectifying the issue and SLC is expecting it to send his end-of-year reconciliation file by the end of this month.

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