Revealed: Student debt to rise to nearly £200bn; more than predicted

This blog post was also published on Liberal Conspiracy and was trailed in the Independent on Sunday

New figures released by the government have revealed that the rise to university tuition fees will cause a £124bn increase in personal debt.

Total student debt will continue to rise until 2047, when it will peak at an estimated £191bn.

This compares to official predictions made before the fees hike, which showed that debt would peak in 2027 at just £67bn.

A forecast of student debt levels was sent to Liberal Conspiracy following a Freedom of Information request to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

The figures also show that, by the year 2032, an average graduate can expect to have£31,000 of debt after leaving university.

The department explained the forecast saying:

Average fee loans are assumed to be just over £7,500 in 2012/13 and both maintenance and fee loans are assumed to increase in line with inflation every year between then and 2050-51.

However, more than a third of English universities are set to charge the maximum of £9,000 and figures from the Office of Fair Access estimate the average fee to be £8,393 – not £7,500. This could mean that the peak total debt could end up being considerably more than even the official estimates suggest.

The National Union of Students told Liberal Conspiracy:

It comes as no surprise that the changes in the higher education funding system will plunge a generation into debt. No matter how the repayment system is constructed or how much some might claim that concern about debt and an incredibly complex system are not a deterrent from university, there is still a very real danger that many young people will be put off.

The headline debt figures are hugely worrying and they are coupled with the fact that the amount of financial support going directly into students’ pocket will actually decrease by 2015. The Government are presiding over a mess of their own creation and it is students that are paying the price.

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