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Are you owed a refund for overpaying your student loan?


More than £23m erroneously collected in 2022-23, with average of £406 owed to those affected

The total amount in overpayments collected by the Student Loans Company in 2022-23 was more than £23.4 million, with nearly 58,000 people paying too much, latest figures show.

According to SLC data published on 21 March, £21.9m of the overpayments has been refunded, with the average refund amounting to £406. It means that around £1.5m has yet to be returned to its rightful owners.

Overpayments occur when HM Revenue and Customs continues to take payments from staff via the pay-as-you-earn system, even though the balance has been paid off.

In 2019, a Research Professional News investigation exposed the extent of the problem, with tens of millions of pounds of graduate overpayments left unclaimed. An update in 2021 showed there were still significant problems with processing refunds. The SLC started publishing data on overpayments in May 2021, following our reports.

Problem remains unresolved

While things have improved considerably since 2015-16, when 88,455 people were owed refunds, the problem of overpayments has not been resolved, despite efforts by the SLC to tackle it. The figures for 2022-23 show an increase.

The total amount in overpayments in 2021-22 was £20.5m, which was up 20 per cent on the previous year. The SLC blamed Covid, saying that during the transition to remote working it had stopped sending reminders to students so it could focus on making prompt payments to students and providers. More than 8,800 customers from 2021-22 are still waiting for a refund.

The number still waiting to be refunded for overpayments in 2022-23 is 33,421, although the SLC says this is likely to reduce considerably over the coming year.

Details on how to apply for a refund if you think you may have overpaid are published on the government website