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Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Repaying student loans more quickly and getting refunds (courses starting from 1998)

If you want to, you can pay off your loan more quickly by making repayments directly to the Student Loans Company, whether or not your income is above the repayment threshold. You may also be entitled to a refund if your income changes during the tax year.

Making additional repayments to clear your student loan

If you took out a student loan in or after 1998, and want to repay it more quickly, you can make voluntary repayments.

These will be made in addition to any repayments collected through the tax system - the repayments which you make on the basis of your income will not be reduced, but you will pay off your loan more quickly by making these extra repayments.

Different rules apply if you took out a student loan for a course starting before 1998. For more information, see 'Repaying student loans (courses starting before 1998)'.

Repayment methods

You can make additional student loan repayments online

Debit or credit card

You can make repayments using a Maestro, Solo, Delta or credit card (there is a 1.5% surcharge added to credit card repayments).

You can use your card to pay online, or telephone a Student Loans Company customer adviser.

If you're paying by card, there's a minimum repayment amount of £5.

Cheque or postal order

If you would like to make an additional repayment by cheque or postal order, write your student reference number (Student Support Number or ART ID) on the back of your cheque or postal order and send it to the Student Loans Company.

See 'Applying for student finance' for more about reference numbers and IDs.

Direct Debit

You can set up additional repayments by Direct Debit. To do so, contact a Student Loans Company customer adviser.

Standing order

To set up a standing order agreement, complete and print the standing order form from the link below and forward it to your bank.

Refunds

If your income varies or falls during the tax year, it is possible that your total for the year will fall below the £15,000 threshold even if your earnings exceed the weekly or monthly threshold.

This might happen if you receive a bonus payment or work overtime, for example, but earn below the threshold for the rest of the time.

In this situation you will be able to apply to the Student Loans Company for a refund of all repayments made in the applicable year, or simply the 'overpayments'. You may also decide not to apply for a refund which will allow you to clear your loan balance more quickly.

If you have repaid your loan but deductions continue, you should write to the Student Loans Company enclosing your wage slips to show these extra deductions, and any overpayments will be refunded to you with interest. Interest is paid at the same rate as it is charged to your account and is tax free.

The Student Loans Company does not refund any voluntary payments that you have made unless you have finished repaying the loan and these are in fact 'overpayments'.

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Additional links

Student loan repayment: online services

Use your online account to update personal details, check your balance or make a payment

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