Reader Questions: How long does a student loan last?

Paul Lewis explains when student loan payments are due, and when the loan is written off


Chris writes that his daughter graduated in 2016 and is struggling to earn more than £25,000, which is the level at which her 9% graduate tax (as I call it) kicks in.


He says, “If she marries and has children, breaks in employment may see her never able to pay back the loan.” Which is fine — after 30 years the loan will be written off.

She is in good company. An estimated 80% of students with these new loans will never pay them off.

But Chris has another fear. He is thinking of helping her buy a home, and asks: “Would any assets she owns at the end of the 30-year term attach to any debt remaining?”

No. At the end of 30 years, any outstanding loan disappears. That rule applies to loans taken out from 1 September 2012 in England and Wales. Other loans taken out at different times in different countries of the UK are written off at age 50, 60 or 65, or after 25, 30 or 35 years, as long as you are not in arrears.

But wherever or whenever it was taken out, once it’s gone, it’s gone, no matter how rich you are then.


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