Lottie is one of 20,000 students overpaid by Student Finance England between 2017 and 2018.
Student Loans Company are legally obliged to recover overpayments as part of a policy set by the Department for Education. A BBC Freedom Of Information Request found that SFE claimed back £25 million in overpayments across the same period.
Lottie says she was given £3,500 in maintenance loan during her first year of university, but was then told that an ‘admin error’ meant she’d been overpaid by over £2,000.
When this was deducted from her maintenance loan in her second and third years, she said she didn’t have enough money to live on and resorted to working a full-time job and a part-time job while trying to balance her studies.
“It hit home quite hard when I had maxed out credit cards on food shops, and ended up looking round my room thinking: ‘what can I sell?'” Lottie told BBC Radio 4’s Money Box.
SLC say that students whose finance is determined by household income need to complete an income assessment. If the information they provide is not accurate, this can result in them being paid more than they are entitled to and the funds being recovered.
They said: ‘In this particular case, funds were only recovered from future entitlements when the actual income figures were shown to be greater than on the original application.’
Listen to more on Lottie’s story on Radio 4’s Money Box on BBC Sounds.
Producer: Eleanor Layhe
Commissioning Editor: Kimberley Rowell