Interest rates on student loans have risen by a third in the wake of a post-Brexit inflation surge, meaning graduates will have to repay substantially more.
The rise to 6.1 percent, more than 24 times the Bank of England base rate, will affect repayments from September, and is driven by the decline in value of the pound since June.
Students who took out a student loan on or after 1st September 2012 will be charged between 3.1 percent and 6.1 percent depending on their income.
Those who started between 1998 and 2011 are currently charged 1.25 percent, which will continue from September.
“Graduates wanting to access the housing market, save and start pensions after university are already struggling to do so and this step will only disadvantage them further”, said Malia Bouattia, NUS President.
She added: “For some the total amount of debt now exceeds £50,000.”
“This is just going to put more people off, especially those who don’t feel like they can afford it,” said Rebecca Graham, third year English Lit and Creative Writing student. “It’s kids from the most deprived families that are going to be most put off by this increase.”
The interest rates are tied to the yearly retail price inflation figure. Students are currently charged 4.6 percent based on the 2016 figure.
From September this will rise to 6.1 percent based on the 2017 RPI figure of 3.1 percent plus 3 percent.
The Retail Price Index rate (RPI) is relatively little used, and is typically higher compared to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), which measured inflation at 2.3 percent in March.