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Review: BBC Student Loan Calculator vs The Official Student Loan Calculator

Today the BBC launched its website offering to calculate how much graduates will repay on their student loans. But the government also has its own official repayment calculator at Future Students. Which one is the best?

For a newly-qualified teacher, for example, the governments official Future Students calculator estimates your weekly repayments at just 87p.

That is just £45 over the whole year. But before you look forward to spending all your hard-earned cash on expensive summer holidays in the long vacation, take a look at the BBCs calculation. It estimates the same repayments for the same new teacher at £681 for the year!That is 15 times more than the official government estimate!

What could possibly explain such a gigantic difference? Well, the BBC one takes account of inflation in prices, and earnings; and discounts the value of money in the future like economists always do; and allows for your age and sex. The government one doesnt.

Actually, to be more precise, the government one doesnt, just like I told them months ago, when I pointed out to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills that Future Students “massively underestimates how much graduates will actually have to pay back each month”.

In other words, the BBC calculator confirms that The Official Student Loan Calculator provided by the government at Future Students is a big fat lie.

I doubt that many potential students will be duped into believing their repayments will be as ludicrously low as Future Students promises. But I also have a question. After this, how on earth do ministers hope to persuade the new generation of students that anything else they promise them is true?