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August 16, 2012

Regarding "So long UK, thanks for all the loans: we'll be in touch ..." (News, 9 August): just 9 per cent of European Union students are in arrears, not almost half as stated in the article's picture caption.

The story says that EU students' total outstanding debt was £111.1 million in 2010-11 - up from £49.2 million the previous year. Just to clarify: the debt at the end of 2009-10 was generated by 9,900 EU students with loans in repayment at that point. The debt at the end of 2010-11 (£111.1 million) related to 18,000 students.

The Student Loans Company does not write off loans until 25 years have elapsed, a period that will increase to 30 years for new students from 2012-13. The company uses a wide range of methods to track down defaulters in the UK and the EU.

Borrowers who move overseas after they graduate and think they can evade their obligations to repay by doing so are wrong. The SLC will shortly begin another round of litigation in the EU and will recover debts through the courts if necessary.

Ed Smith, Chairman, Student Loans Company

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