More than half of students starting university this year will still be paying off their university loans when they are in their 50s, according to a new study.
Students starting university this September will be subject to the new charging system, which has seen maximum tuition fees rise to £9,000 and means they will also have to pay a real rate of interest on their loans.
This means that 70% of students will be worse off over their lifetime than under the current fee system. Average debts are expected to rise to £37,658 - up from £22,127 this year.
The study by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has revealed that this means that 56% of graduates will still be repaying their loan at 52, when they will qualify to have it written off as they will have been repaying it for 30 years.
Effectively students going to university this September will pay an extra tax for 30 years of their working lives.
The study also showed that students coming from families earning £43,500 a year would face the highest level of debt because they may need to take out the maximum loan for living costs but will no longer qualify for student grants, which would have reduced their need for loans, according to the Daily Mail.
They are also less likely to be eligible for a reduction in their fees.