'Championing the rights of children'

Taxpayers owed millions from loans wrongly given to foreign students

Garry Mon 24 Aug 2015 09:51

They were handed grants and loans due to inadequate checks, and only one tenth of the money has been repaid.

Millions of pounds of taxpayers' money has still not been recovered from foreign students who were wrongly handed loans and grants because of inadequate checks.

Two years after the problem was uncovered, only around a 10th - less than £280,000 of £2.45 million wrongly handed out to hundreds of individuals - has been clawed back.

The Student Loans Company (SLC), from which the Press Association obtained the latest figures, said it was still "actively tracking down" the funds and had not written off any debt.

The Government has been severely criticised by public spending watchdogs for ignoring warnings that a rapid expansion in higher education colleges could lead to financial abuse.

Over three years from 2010, loans and grants paid to students at "alternative providers" - which get no direct state funding - rocketed from £50 million to £675 million.

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But until September 2013, SLC relied solely on the word of students that they had lived in the UK for the three years needed to qualify for maintenance support.
Read more... (Daily Telegraph - 22 August)