To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the command paper entitled Higher Education Policy Statement & Reform Consultation, CP 617, published on 24 February 2022, what plans the Government has to ensure that those who take maternity leave are not penalised with higher-than-average increases in lifetime student loan repayments.
3 March 2022
We want a sustainable student finance system that is fair to students and taxpayers – and which continues to enable anyone with the ability and the ambition to benefit from higher education to do so. The student finance system will continue to protect borrowers, including women on maternity leave, or any person on any form of parental leave, if they see a reduction in their income.
Student loan repayments are made based on a borrower’s monthly or weekly income, not the interest rate or amount borrowed, and no repayments are made for earnings below the relevant repayment threshold. Repayments are calculated as a fixed percentage of earnings above the relevant repayment threshold - if a borrower’s income drops, so do their repayments. Any outstanding debt, including interest accrued, is written off at the end of the loan term with no detriment to the borrower. No commercial loans offer this level of borrower protection.
If, at the end of the year, the borrower’s total income is below the relevant annual threshold, they may reclaim any repayments from the Student Loans Company made during that year.