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Get rid of student loan interest, urges Willetts

Former universities and science minister David Willetts has called for interest payments on student loans to be dropped, as pressure mounts to influence the post-18 funding review.

Willetts, who removed the student numbers cap and set the fee limit at £9,000 during his time as minister, said the interest rate on student loans should be cut to zero and maintenance loans should be reintroduced to help students cope with high costs of living. A recent survey by student housing charity Unipol found that rent costs were taking up 73 per cent of a typical student’s grants and loans in the academic year 2018-19. 

“The politics is in the interest rate,” Willetts told The Times on 10 December. “I would put the interest rate down to zero.” He added that he would “freeze the loan in cash terms” to help stabilise the student loans system.

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