View of a Street in the UK.

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 return to their home countries without paying back any of their debt. This has left the UK taxpayers footing the student debt bill, a number that is expected to reach £100 billion in outstanding loans by 2018.

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.

Students from other European countries who attend UK universities are given access to the same taxpayer-funded loan as UK citizens. But with 25 percent of those foreign students neglecting repayment on those loans, some members in Parliament are calling for significant changes.

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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.

Image Copyright Tyler Lowmiller.

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