Rising number of over 50s taking out student loans
The UK’s 70’s and 80’s generation are turning to student loans to complete their university degree despite the concerns that most of them will never repay, the Telegraph reveals.
The baby boomer generation is said to be claiming up to £67 million worth of student loans annually that they are never likely to repay. The numbers are derived through Freedom of Information Act, revealing that more than 5,000 aged 50+ have taken advantage of loans that are backed by the taxpayers to take university degrees. The figures also includes pensioners who are in their 60s, 70s and even in their 80s.
The number of the students over 50s taking these types of loans to cover their tuition fees and other living expenses has been reportedly increased by 11.5% in just 12 months. These figures suggest that there is a rising number of older people wanting to pursue their higher education later in life in order to improve their qualifications or simply because they want to pursue their love of a particular subject.
But majority of those who are taking out student loans are unlikely to ever repay because of the rules that repayments only take effect when the graduates earn more than £21,000, and the average retirement income is only £11,000 suggesting many loans will remain unpaid. What is more the loans are written off after 30 years or when the borrower dies.
Angus Hanton, of The Intergenerational Foundation, a charity that works on behalf of young people, said: “Whilst younger generations face the huge burden of student loan repayments for more than 30 years, increasing numbers of baby boomers are still able to get a university education for free.”
He also added, “Self-improvement should be encouraged in later life but not at the expense of younger taxpayers having to pick up the bill.””
“There is certainly a pressure for continuing to get retrained and upskilled,” says David Willetts last year, the Universities Minister. He also said that returning to university would help the over-50s remain in work.
Students who are under 60 years old can claim up to £9,000 to cover fees and up to £4,418 for maintenance.
Student Loans Company (SLC) showed figures of those over 50 who take out student loans over the last two years, revealing 5,030 over-50s claimed loans to cover their tuition fees in 2013-14 in comparison with the 4,550 a year earlier. This includes 540 of those over 60 and 40 people who are aged 69 and over. In addition, 5,070 students aged 50 or over claimed maintenance loans in 2013/14, up to 4,510 a year earlier.