10 May

Farewell My Student Loan

Without any kind of fanfare or even a formal notification I appear to have paid off my student loan.

The Other Old Lady

I took out my first undergraduate loan in 1994, my first year at the University of Portsmouth, and put it in a building society (remember them?) I did the same for each of the subsequent years and each building society went public providing me with a windfall of shares. By the time I graduated in 1997 my student debt was over £3,000 and although I had most of the money in newly formed bank accounts it didn’t last much longer.

This was all in the pre-1998 student loan period, before things got silly in educational finance. One of the conditions of those pre-1998 loans was that I had to hit a certain threshold of earnings before I had to pay back this staggering amount. I forget what the threshold was at graduation, but it was well above the £9,500 annual salary that I earned in my first full-time job with the Inland Revenue in 1998.

In fact every job I had after that was always below the threshold, although I crept closer and closer to the point where my annual salary in more recent years was often just £30-£40 below the magic number.

Then, when there was a vote to increase salaries at work in recognition of our service and everyone got bumped up a point on the scale, I crossed over.

The salary increase was in the region of £60 a month, better than nothing for sure. The resulting student loan deduction was close to £90 a month so that took the edge off it a little.

Since then the money has left my account every month like clockwork, the specific amount due changing once a year in September as interest was adjusted in line with inflation (always under so the rates were very reasonable)

Then last month, the deduction was around 40p less. I knew the end was coming but I’d heard nothing concrete, so I waited a month and checked. This month, no deduction. My student loan is paid off, over a quarter of a century after I first took it out.