78,000 overpay student loans by £580

Mortaboards and money

Tens of thousands of former students have overpaid their student loans by £580 on average.

In the 2013/14 financial year, 78,800 overpaid their student loans, ending up £45.4 million out of pocket in total, according to a Freedom of Information request by accountants Baker Tilly.

The value of overpayments rose 10% compared to the previous year, with around £191 million being overpaid in the five years to 2013/14.

Under the current system, student loan repayments are collected automatically through the tax system. However, HMRC only shares payment information with the Student Loan Company at the end of the tax year, meaning people who do not pay by direct debit are at risk of continuing to be charged for their loans after settling the final amount.

To avoid the risk of repaying too much, the company recommends that borrowers who are within two years of completing their student loan repayments ensure they are paying by direct debit.

The right money at the right time

Lesley Fidler, associate director at Baker Tilly, said: "In this day and age it beggars belief that HMRC and the Student Loan Company can't develop a more efficient system which takes the right amount of money at the right time from people wanting to repay their student loans."

People who believe they have overpaid a student loan through their company payroll should contact the Student Loan Company, or await notification of the refund process in due course.

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