Do you actually know what you signed up for when you agreed to take out a student loan? Do you know exactly how much interest you’re paying? Do you know what the terms and conditions are? Did you read the small print? Do you know that the small print keeps changing?
Many of us take a ‘hear no evil, see no evil' approach to our student loans. We know we’ve got them, we know we’re repaying them, we sort of know we’re paying interest on them but we don’t question them. That is, until you realise you’ve overpaid and it’s actually really difficult to get the money back.
People are starting to get really pissed off the Student Loans Company, including Martin Lewis of moneysavingexpert.com who’s actually hired lawyers to see if changes which were introduced (somewhat quietly) as part of last year’s Autumn Statement are even legal.
You might have missed them. The changes weren’t announced in Osborne’s speech to parliament, they were buried on page 126 of his Autumn Statement document. And, unlike when you bank changes the terms of your overdraft, bank account or credit card you won’t have received a letter from the Student Loans Company letting you know about it.
Now, there’s also an online petition asking politicians to reform the way the student loans system works and, in particular, the quality of the information you get about your debt and how easy it is to access that information.
It argues that students and graduates deserve better, more up-to-date, accurate and clear information on their loans. As anyone who’s tried to get information out of the Student Loans Company will know it’s no mean feat, although they’re very quick to contact you when you go freelance or change employer….
A review of the entire system is needed for several reasons and, there are many questions to be asked. In the meantime, though, the best thing you can do is get to know your student loan. Read the small print. There are some good explainers on Martin Lewis’s site.
You know you’re in debt but what do you actually know about that debt?
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.