Martin Lewis furious with government over new student loan repayment plan
Finance guru and TV presenter Martin Lewis has hit out at the government after it announced a major shake-up to the student loan repayment scheme.
Changes that were announced on Friday January 28 mean students will have to repay more money over an extended repayment period.
Minister of State for Higher and Further Education, Michelle Donelan, released the statement last night, saying in part: “Maintaining the reimbursement threshold at its current level, alongside the current fee freeze, will help ensure the sustainability of the student loan system, while keeping higher education open to all who have the ability and ambition to benefit from it, including the most disadvantaged.”
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News of the freeze only came last night, with Martin Lewis promising his supporters he would sit down to work out the numbers, but in the meantime sharing his initial reaction video, calling the move a “violation of what Theresa May said in 2017”.
Martin Lewis was behind a huge campaign in 2010 when the government sought to lower the threshold and succeeded in stopping the movement.
This time around, however, he explained to his followers: “While the freeze looks good, what it means in practice is that everyone who repays will repay more each year and most people, the vast majority , will repay more for their student loan in total.”
This decision will affect students who are on either Plan 2, which affects those who started university in England and Wales in or after 2012, as well as those on Plan 3, who are postgraduate loans.
But Lewis pointed out, “For the vast majority of people, they’ll pay more. Higher earning graduates get the benefit, and low and middle earners pay more.”
Sighing before revealing his thoughts, he said: “In 2010, when I was chair of the independent task force on student financial information, we had confirmation that it was supposed to increase with average incomes. .
“Around 2015 it was frozen and I ran a big campaign it wasn’t frozen they were going to cut it and I ran a big campaign to stop that and we got it stopped and Theresa May actually raised the threshold in 2017 and said it would increase with average earnings.
“This has now ceased and is a breach of Theresa May’s promise.”
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Lewis admitted, however, that he was slightly annoyed that he had said it, but was slightly relieved as he had thought the situation could have been much worse.
The current threshold is, for Plans 2 and 3, at £27,295 per year.
Martin believes the move will see university leavers repaying their loans paying £110 more than they would have.
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