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73% of students will still be paying off loans in their fifties

73% of students will enter their fifties still owing around £30,000 in student debts. These claims follow a large study carried out by the Institute for Fiscal Studies for the Sutton Trust on the 10th of April.

Many graduates will fail to pay off their debts, and will instead have them written off thirty years after graduating. By this time most will be in their mid-fifties.

Only 5% are estimated to pay off their debts before they reach forty. This is compared with around half of graduates under the old £3,000 per annum system. However, students are not expected to start repayments until they earn £21,000 as opposed to £15,000 under the old system.

For many, this is yet another indication that the government has alienated and made life even harder for students.

As an example, a teacher – who earns average teaching wage and is in continuous employment from graduation – will owe around £37,000 at the age of forty. They will be repaying between £1,700 – £2,500 through their forties and into their early fifties. This will most likely be alongside childcare and heaviest mortgage payments.

What’s more, a recent article has suggested that students graduating now will earn on average 11% less than graduates from 2007.

In 2007, the average graduate salary was £24,293. This is compared to an average salary of £21,237 in 2012. The BBC has suggested that this “decline is continuing and perhaps increasing”.

Medical graduates appear to be amongst those hardest hit.

Statistics have shown a substantial 15% reduction in starting salaries in the medical field compared to 2007. As a highly demanding profession, these salary reductions are likely to be met with criticism.

These new claims come at a time when the cost of living is rising and nearly one million people are reliant on food banks for survival. It appears to be a time of hardship for many, and some graduates may not be exempt from the struggle.

Toni Pearce, President of the National Union of Students (NUS), said: “Forcing debt onto students as a way of funding universities is an experiment that has failed our country.”

For those studying librarianship and materials, however, the average salary has risen since 2007. While librarians have enjoyed a 3% increase, those working in materials have gained an additional 13% in income.

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