Student Finance is offering refunds for overpayments – here's how to get yours

You could be owed hundreds by the Student Loans Company and not even know it.

And the good news? You only need to make a phone call to get your hands on it.

Last year an education publication found, through Freedom of Infomation requests, that the government is holding on to more than £28million in student loan overpayments.

The Research Professional News looked into the Student Loans Company (SLC) data which showed that overpayments taken from students hit a whopping £308m due to errors.

Most of the overpayments were paid back, but £28.5million remains unclaimed and is held by the government, despite identifying which students are in need of the payments.

The SLC says they’ve contacted all students owed a repayment but those they have had trouble getting in touch with – often due to a change of address – may have slipped through.

After someone posted in a subreddit claiming to have been refunded overpayments they made without knowing, others have got some of their money back.

It’s not just those who have already paid their loans back in full (pipe dream, is that you?). If you’re someone who is still attempting to pay off their loans, you could still be eligible for a refund.

When I read these comments, I thought they were akin to those dubious pyramid scheme types that promise you 36 books but deliver one copy of a YA novel you’re never going to pick up.

But, with nothing to lose, I gave the SLC repayment team a call and after about 17 minutes, I was through.

How you can get your overpayments refunded:

  • Call Student Finance on 0300 100 0611
  • Give them your SF number (on the right-hand part of any letters you’ve received from Student Finance)
  • If you don’t have this number, you’ll be asked other questions to verify yourself
  • Once you’re through, ask if you’re owed any repayments
  • Ask if you can have the money sent back into your account, unless you would prefer to just have it knocked off the amount you already owe.

If you have your student finance number, I imagine the process is a little quicker but since I left uni five years ago (yikes), I did not have that number handy.

Following the kind Redditor who advised ‘mashing the keypad repeatedly’, eventually, I was put through to a real person.

The operator asked a series of questions I had not thought about since my heady uni days but luckily she was patient.

Bish bash bosh, she told me I am owed £118. Result.

Though a cash injection is welcome any time of the week, it is important to remember your options.

Instead of receiving the figure imminently (which can range from the 20s to hundreds, by the way), you can choose to take it away from what you currently owe Student Finance.

The figure might look like a drop in the ocean in terms of what you owe altogether (I’ve still got £32,000 to go, FYI).

And recent studies also show that very few will even be able to fully pay off their education.

In fact, 83% of graduates will have some debt written off under the current system. So around 17% are expected to repay in full.

So, might as well rake it in for now.

How much do I repay for my student loans?

The important thing to remember is that the amount you’ll repay will be based on how much you earn, not how much you borrow. You’ll repay 9% of your income above the repayment threshold – earn less and you won’t repay.

Once you leave your course, you’ll only repay when your income is above the repayment threshold. The current UK threshold is £25,725 a year, £2,143 a month, or £494 a week.

For example, if you earn £2,250 a month before tax, you’ll repay £9 a month. This is because £2,250 is £107 above the monthly threshold of £2,143, and 9% of £107 is £9.

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