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Student debt interest rise 'policy disaster', UCU says

13 April 2022

The University and College Union has today (Wednesday) responded to a briefing from the Institute for Fiscal Studies that shows the impact that inflation will have on student loan repayments.

The report outlines how the maximum interest students will pay will rise from the current level of 4.5% to 12% for 6 months, with higher earning graduates incurring around £3000 in interest in that time.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said:

'It simply cannot be right to saddle students with tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt and then subject them to the whims of volatile markets and rocketing interest rates. Today's news will leave those already repaying their student loans preparing for increased debt payments during a cost of living crisis and force others to consider whether a university education is worth the cost at all. On any level, this is a policy disaster.

'As today's report from IFS makes clear, low earners are being hit particularly hard by this toxic system of debt and interest which punishes students for going to university. If ministers still wanted to resuscitate their levelling up agenda, sorting this mess out would be a good place to start.

'It's time for government and those who lead our universities to admit that the status quo is broken and commit to building a higher education sector which is publically funded, accessible to all and debt free. That is the future both staff and students want.'

Last updated: 3 May 2022