More than 300,000 graduates have been given refunds on their student loans in the past five years after they were over-charged.
Rayner condemned the SLC for the difficulty some graduates had experienced when trying to claim back cash, telling The Times the money “should never have been taken from them in the first place”.
Last year alone, the SLC handed back £53million, with the average refund received by graduates increasing to £690 per person.
The huge extent of the refunds was revealed thanks to a Freedom of Information request by the Labour Party.
The overpayments have been blamed on the fact that student loan repayments are collected through the tax system. The SLC only receive updates from HMRC once a year, meaning graduates who lose their jobs or suddenly fall below the repayment threshold often overpay until their schedule is altered.
Many graduates have vented their frustration, one writing: “I overpaid by £2,000 and they didn’t seem bothered. Surely this can’t be ok?”.
A Students Loans Company spokesperson said: “If we find out that a borrower has overpaid, we will get in touch with them using the latest contact information they have on their account. This will allow us to provide a refund promptly. There are various ways to keep a check on repayments.”
But former NUS President turned Labour MP Wes Streeting said he had to “ring several times over 6 months” to have the SLC address the overcharges.
The SLC advises customers to track of their account at www.studentloanrepayment.co.uk.
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