Loan fury of former student

IT IS the dream of many students to be able to pay off their huge loans in one lump sum.But for Suffolk woman Emma Coulter it has become more of a nightmare - because The Student Loans Company (SLC) does not know how much she owes.

IT IS the dream of many students to be able to pay off their huge loans in one lump sum.

But for Suffolk woman Emma Coulter it has become more of a nightmare - because The Student Loans Company (SLC) does not know how much she owes.

Miss Coulter, 24, of Blake Street, in Shotley Gate, said she racked up a loan of around £5,000 while at University in Chester and wants to pay it off before she gets married next year.

She got in touch with the SLC in January to get a settlement figure only to be told to phone back in April when records would be up to date as the company takes her monthly payment straight from her pay packet.


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However this month she was told they still do not have a settlement figure and was even asked to photocopy her payslips for the last two years to help speed the process up.

She said: “I think it is disgusting that a government funded company is in such a shambles.

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“It is a problem that needs to be addressed.

“We should be able to pay the debt off as soon as we are in a position to.

“You would not get this from a bank.”

Ms Coulter has even written to South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo in a bid to get action on the issue.

But a spokesman for The SLC, Ian McLaren-Thompson, said the issue of waiting to get a settlement figure is unavoidable.

He said: “People quite understandably think of student loans as if they were a bank loan which isn't the case.

“The way we collect payments direct from pay packets means we are slowed in the way we collect information.

“This is certainly a downside but we looked at a number of different ways of getting the money back and this was the best.”

n. Have you found yourself in the same position as Ms Coulter? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

FAST FACTS - number 11 with pic of cash

n. Interest charged on student loans is linked to the rate of inflation and is adjusted each year in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI).

n. Back in 1990/91 the average loan taken out by students for that academic year totalled £390 - the figure now runs at an average of more than £3,200 a year.

n. £2.79 billion in student loans were taken out last year by around 854,000 students.

Weblink: www.slc.co.uk

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