The government intends to change the way student loans are repaid, which could result in people who took their loan out after 2012 paying back a higher amount of their wage than they expected.
The minimum annual salary you must earn before paying back your loan will be frozen at £21,000. Previously, this threshold increased with average earnings at the same rate, and it would mean the pay-back date for many was delayed.
This is being done in an attempt to reduce the amount of debt the country has, but the plans have been criticised.
Lower-paid graduates will be hit hard by the changes, campaigners say, as a larger percentage of their monthly income ends up being paid to the government.
If you received a loan after 2012, you will have expected to have to repay 9 per cent of everything you earn above £21,000 (until the loan has been fully repaid).
Giving an example of how it would work if the threshold does not rise with the average salary, the NUS said: “If you earn £25,000 and the threshold is £23,000, you repay £180 a year. If the threshold is frozen at £21,000, you pay £360 a year.”
Approximately 190,000 people are likely to be affected by the change by 2020. Currently, university students in England and Wales can be charged up to £9,000 a year by their universities.
“Freezing the repayment threshold won’t just affect new students but those who started studying from 2012/13. It will have a real impact on the income of graduates, particularly the most disadvantaged and those on lower earnings,” said Sorana Vieru, of the NUS.