SLC issues guidance for repayment customers and answers common questions related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

What if I’m having difficulty affording repayments to my arrears or overpayment?

You need to contact us if:

  • you’re having difficulty repaying an agreed arrangement
  • you’ve stopped repaying an agreed arrangement

We understand that at this time many people may be experiencing financial difficulties. Our experienced staff are available to listen to any challenges you’re facing and agree an affordable arrangement with you.

Before you get in touch, it would be helpful if you had some financial information to hand (for example, your monthly income and outgoings).

Free independent advice on managing your money can be found at

You can also contact one of these debt advice organisations:

My UK salary has dropped or ceased. What will happen with my student loan repayments?

The amount you repay depends on what you earn. This means that if your salary decreases then your student loan deductions will decrease too.

If your salary falls below the repayment threshold, you won’t have any deductions taken. You don’t have to do anything. It’s all done automatically for you.

I’m living overseas but I’m no longer working or my income has dropped because of coronavirus. Do I still need to repay?

How much you repay depends on what you earn. This means that if your salary decreases then your student loan repayments will decrease too. If you no longer earn above the threshold for your country of residence, you won’t have to make any repayments.

If the current situation with COVID-19 means that you’re no longer earning or your income has dropped, you can let us know by updating your employment details.

You’ll be asked to upload some evidence, but if you do not have what we’ve asked for, you should try to give as much evidence as you can. If you cannot provide any evidence at all, you should upload a cover letter explaining your situation.

I’m living overseas and have been asked for evidence, or have recently returned to the UK after living overseas, but I can’t provide it because of the coronavirus situation. What should I do?

You should try to give us as much evidence as you can. For example, if we’ve asked for 3 payslips and you only have 2, send us what you have. You can upload this evidence online.

If you cannot give us any evidence at all, you should go online and upload a cover letter explaining your situation. You will not be penalised, but we will get back in touch with you at some point to ask again.

I work for the NHS in Scotland and got paid a £500 bonus in February, how will this affect my student loan repayments?

If you’re earning over the repayment threshold, the Scottish Government confirmed in December that the £500 payments for health and social care staff would be liable for student loan repayments, as well as tax and National Insurance contributions. So you may find that your student loan repayment in February is higher than usual, as a result of the £500 bonus. Find out more on the Scottish Government website.

If you normally earn under the repayment threshold but your £500 NHS bonus has taken your February salary over the monthly repayment threshold, you could be due a refund at the end of the tax year. You’ll have to wait until 6 April before you can request the refund so we can confirm your annual income was below the repayment threshold.

If you’re not due to start repaying your student loan until April 2021, but you’ve noticed student loan repayments being deducted from your salary, you can contact us to request a refund.

Can I still contact you if I need help?

Yes, we’ve reopened our contact centres so customers who are repaying their student loans are able to contact us again.

Our SLC Repayment social media team are also available on Facebook and Twitter to answer your questions.

Will my student loan balance accrue interest in this period?

Your student loan balance will continue to accrue interest.

If you’re a Plan 1 customer, your interest rate is currently 1.1%.

If you’re a Plan 2 customer, your interest rate is based on your income and whether you’re still studying. Learn more about Plan 2 interest rates.

I think I’m due a refund. How do I get this back?

If you think you’ve paid back too much, you should sign in to your online account and check your balance to see if it’s in credit.

If you are due a refund, you can send us a private message on Facebook or Twitter where an advisor will make sure your repayments stop and issue a refund. You can also call us to get your refund – but please be aware that we are very busy at the moment as we are operating a limited service.

Remember, you won’t get a refund if you:

  • have never had a student loan
  • took out your loan before 1998
  • have never made any repayments to your student loan
  • earn above the repayment threshold for your plan type and have a student loan balance

Published 25 March 2020
Last updated 26 February 2021 + show all updates

  1. Added a new FAQ, related to the £500 bonus for NHS staff in Scotland

  2. Overpayments reopened

  3. Added arrears and overpayment information

  4. Added content for users who have been asked to provide evidence

  5. Updated guidance for customers who are due a refund of their student loan repayments.

  6. Updated to confirm contact centre re-opening.

  7. Updated Plan 1 interest rate as of 7 April 2020

  8. We have added an additional section for repayers who believe they may be due a refund of their student loan repayments.

  9. Added information for users with arrears

  10. First published.