Thursday 2 March 2017

Quarter of EU citizens fail to repay taxpayer-funded student loans

A quarter of EU citizens who study in English universities fail to repay their taxpayer-funded loans.

Figures published by the Student Loan Company show that 18,600 EU citizens have taken out student loans and never paid a penny in repayments leaving £400m in unpaid loans. Once they leave the UK the Student Loan Company is unable to automatically deduct repayments directly from earnings and it appears that they choose not pursue the debtors once they've left.

When I worked for the debt recovery department of a high street bank many years ago I once instructed an American trace and collect agent to track someone down in Beirut, knock their door and take their cheque book off them that they were using to fraudulently cash cheques at a branch of the Bank of Lebanon in Beirut. It cost $100 and the cheque book was back with us within a week.

It is very easy to trace people in EU countries and there is an EU Enforcement Order that allows a judgement obtained in English courts to be enforced in another member state, including in some cases by an attachment of earnings just like they do in England.

The Student Loan Company could very easily collect loans from EU citizens but they choose not to, either through laziness or for political reasons. Either way it is absolutely unacceptable and the practice of giving special treatment to EU citizens instead of treating them like any other international student has to stop.

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