While many countries are dealing with a student loan debt issue, the United Kingdom is experiencing something a bit less common: A growing number of foreign students are coming into the country to study, and then failing to pay back any of the loans given to them to fund their education.
New research shows that one in four European Union citizens who earn their diplomas in England then return to their home countries without paying back any of their debt. This has left the UK taxpayers footing the bill, which is currently stands at more than £400 million.
Students from other European countries who attend UK universities are given access to the same taxpayer-funded loan as UK citizens. But 25 percent of those foreign students do not make any repayment on those loans once they’ve graduated and return to their native countries.
The number of EU graduates placed in arrears hit 8,600 last year, while an additional 10,000 who have defaulted on their loans cannot be located by UK authorities.
Now several UK legislators want to make sure graduates are forced to repay what they owe. One plan is to have anyone who has defaulted on their loans to be arrested at the border, a tactic that is already being done in New Zealand. They also proposed an online system so foreigners can easily make payments and find help when they are experiencing financial hardship.
Many Tory MPs have demanded that the money get recouped during Brexit negotiations, while others believe that EU students should pay their own tuition and fees upfront.
Though the United States does not deal with this problem on as large of a scale as the UK, students have tried to before. Attempting to abandon debt in the US, though, could lead to a destroyed credit score, seizure of all property and money still in the country, and possible extradition from the current country. Needless to say, there are better options than to attempt to abandon student debt in the US.
Image Copyright Tyler Lowmiller.