The Student Loans Company Limited is a non-departmental public body of the United Kingdom government, responsible for the provision of financial support to students attending university. The company offers loans to students at the rate of inflation - as measured by the retail price index - and administers repayment once the student has entered employment and is earning a salary in excess of a defined threshold.
Historically loans were collected directly from the student by direct debit (mortgage style loans), more recently Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) loans have been introduced. ICR loans are paid back via Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs who actually collect the repayments and send the details of the repayment collected back to the Student Loans Company. Borrowers outside the UK tax system repay directly to the Student Loans Company.
The Company was established in 1990 when it lent out £190 million to eligible students. Since then, changes in the provision of higher education have seen the phasing out of non repayable maintenance grants, and the charging of tuition fees. In the financial year 2004-05, the Company lent out £2,712 million, with total outstanding loans valued at £15,974.6 million at the end of that financial year.
The UK Government sold off two tranches of debtor accounts in 1998 and 1999 to Finance for Higher Education (FFHE), a company formed by Greenwich NatWest, and Honours Student Loans Company a trading name of Honours Trustee Limited, a private limited company.