This statistics publication provides forecasts for higher education and further education student loans in England. These include forecasts of student loan borrower entrant numbers, student loan outlay and student loan repayments.
The forecasts are based on models developed by the Department for Education (DfE), details of quality and methodology are provided in the methodology document accompanying this publication.
Student loan forecasts for England
This statistics publication provides forecasts for higher education and further education student loans in England. These include forecasts of student numbers, student loan outlay and student loan repayments. Only income-contingent student loans issued to English domiciled students studying in the UK or EU domiciled students studying in England are included. The forecasts are based on models developed by the Department for Education (DfE), details of quality and methodology are provided in the methodology document accompanying this publication.
This is the sixth in an annual series of statistics publications on student loan forecasts. It covers forecasts produced during the 2021-22 financial year, primarily covering the period 2021-22 to 2026-27.
We welcome feedback on this publication and the forecasts presented within it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Headline facts and figures - 2021-22
On average, full-time undergraduate higher education borrowers are expected to take out loans for three years and, for those starting in academic year 2021/22, borrow on average £42,000 over the course of their studies. While most borrowers will repay at least some of their loan, the income contingent nature of the loans means only 20% of full-time undergraduate higher education borrowers starting a course in 2021-22 are expected to repay their loan in full.
In total £20.0 billion was issued in 2021-22 (as published by the Student Loans Company). This was composed of: 93% Plan 2 full-time higher education loans, 4% Master’s loans, 2% Plan 2 part-time higher education loans, 1% Advanced Learner Loans, <1% Doctoral Loans.
Total student loan outlay is forecast to increase by 21% between 2021-22 and 2026-27 to £24.2billion in nominal terms. This is mainly driven by increases in full-time undergraduate loan outlay, partly reflecting increases in average loan amounts (which rise by 10% between 2021/22 and 2026/27) and increasing loan-borrowing entrants.
Total undergraduate loan-borrowing entrants are expected to grow by 5.2% over the forecast period, from 580,000 in academic year 2020/21 to 610,000 in academic year 2026/27. This is largely driven by forecasted growth in the 18-year-old population from 2021/22.
As loan repayments depend on borrower’s income and borrowers are only liable to repay for a fixed number of years, Government does not expect all loans to be repaid in full and expects to subsidise a proportion of student loans.
Of the loans issued in financial year 2021-22, the government is forecast to subsidise:
- 44% of Plan 2 full-time higher education loans (53% in 2020-21)
- 33% of Plan 2 part-time higher education loans (46% in 2020-21)
- 55% of Advanced Learner Loans (67% in 2020-21)
- 0% of Master’s loans (0% in 2020-21)
Loan subsidy forecasts for financial year 2021-22 do not include changes to plan 2 repayment terms (announced in February 2022) for which legislation has not yet been passed. Where legislation is expected in 2022-23 the impacts are only included from 2022-23 onwards.
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