The Scholar Loans Firm is sitting on greater than £18m in overpayments made by graduates and different former college students since 2015, two years after its mountain of unclaimed refunds was first disclosed.
Figures obtained by means of freedom of knowledge requests present that the SLC, which administers government-backed loans for tuition and upkeep, has £18.3m in overpayments awaiting refund to almost 60,000 former college students from 2015 to 2020.
The full consists of £2m in pointless funds made in 2019-20, regardless of the SLC making administrative adjustments to cut back overpayments by graduates who had settled their excellent debt.
The £18.3m whole is lower than the £21m in overpayments since 2015 revealed in figures revealed by Research Professional News two years in the past, however suggests the SLC is unable to find and refund lots of the former college students to whom its owes a median of £300 over that interval.
Overpayments totalling £6.3m made in 2015-16 alone have been held by the SLC two years in the past, however the newest figures present that greater than £5m has nonetheless not been refunded.
Earnings-contingent pupil loans are repaid by salaried graduates by means of the payroll tax system administered by HMRC. The majority of overpayments arose as a result of HMRC and the SLC exchanged information solely every year, however lately the organisations have shared information as soon as per week to cut back the probabilities of overpayments.
The SLC mentioned it couldn’t make refunds if former college students didn’t provide their right contact particulars.
A spokesman for the SLC mentioned: “Clients can keep away from over-repayment by opting to pay their pupil mortgage by direct debit over the last two years of compensation. We contact each buyer two years previous to the tip of their mortgage and urge them to change their repayments to direct debit throughout this era.
“As well as, we now routinely refund prospects and final yr we routinely refunded £3.5m, however we are able to solely accomplish that if we maintain up-to-date contact data.”
Rachel Hewitt, director of coverage and advocacy on the Greater Schooling Coverage Institute, instructed PA Media that the duty mustn’t fall on graduates to keep away from overpayment.
“It’s unethical for the mortgage recipients to should take the duty for making certain they aren’t overpaying, and exhibits flaws within the system that there’s nonetheless such a big variety of graduates overpaying. It’s important that that is addressed, to keep away from additional mistrust within the loans system.”
Final yr the SLC enabled repayments to be made on-line for the primary time however its preliminary web site was attacked by Martin Lewis, the buyer finance champion, for giving graduates a “demoralising, damaging and harmful” image of their debt.