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Only fools and courses – NUS condemns government sell off of student loan book

Monday 6 February 2017

Today the government announced that it would be selling off student loans for graduates who entered repayment between 2002 and 2006 to the highest bidder. NUS is deeply disappointed that we have a Chancellor who is prepared to sell off a national asset, losing millions from the public purse, in this dodgy deal.

The sale will compromise the future repayments on the outstanding balances on a selection of loans, with a total face value of around £4bn.

Sorana Vieru, NUS Vice President (Higher Education), said:

“The government are pulling yet another ugly move on students. The selling off of tranches of the student loan book to the highest bidder for less than it’s worth is economic illiteracy. It doesn’t just penalise students and graduates, it is taking money from the public purse which could and should be spent on services over the long term.”

“Selling the loan book to investors is privatisation through the back door. It is outrageous that bankers will profit on off the backs of graduates who took out loans because they had no other option. The government wants to sell our education on the cheap and this is only the first step. If it becomes the norm for student loans to be sold to private investors, rather than held by government, it will be all the more tempting for governments to subject future students to extortionate interest, commercial terms and conditions and the raising of the repayment threshold, making loans even more attractive to private interests, but all the harder for new graduates to economically contribute to society.”

Responding to specific concerns over terms and conditions, Sorana added: 

“The government has insisted the sale of student loans will not mean any changes to the terms and conditions of those borrowers whose loans are sold. We will hold them to this promise. We still remain deeply concerned by the sale, partly because we fear the terms and conditions of loans for future students may be changed for the worse in order to make loan sales easier and more lucrative. Bankers should not be profiting from student debt, and this sale sets a precedent to privatising our education through the back door.”




For further information contact Katie Shaw, PR & Campaigns Manager, at NUS on 07866 695 010 or

Notes to editors

  1. The National Union of Students is a voluntary membership organisation which makes a real difference to the lives of students and its member students' unions.

    We are a confederation of 600 students' unions, amounting to more than 95 per cent of all higher and further education unions in the UK. Through our member students' unions, we represent the interests of more than seven million students.

    We promote, defend and extend the rights of students and develop and champion strong students’ unions.
  2. Government Assets Sale: Written Statement – HCWS458