Here's one for you. The Student Loans Company currently have their mitts on £28 million in student loan overpayments, and you – yes, you, the winning champion – might be able to get a hold of some of it.
The Guardian reported on this last August, when figures obtained via freedom of information requests by the higher education publication Research Professional News found that a total of £308 million was overpaid between 2009/2010 and 2017/2018, but almost a tenth of that had not been refunded.
The Student Loans Company say they have contacted everyone who is owed a refund. However, chances are most graduates have moved address several times, and therefore not updated their details. For example, I haven't received a letter, but when I called the Student Loans Company yesterday I was told I'm owed £150, for the years 2014/15. Basically: free money.
Since I only decided to get my Money Supermarket on this year – I've written here about changes to UK bank overdrafts – I thought maybe I was one of the last people in the UK to know about this scheme, having come across it while browsing the UKPersonalFinance subreddit. However, upon returning to my desk, announcing something like "I just won some free money, bitch", it became apparent my colleagues were also not aware. One has now been refunded £240. Jack, our Platform Editor, £245. For Features Editor Emma Garland, a whopping £28 – not great, but still better than nothing.
So, how do you get the cash?
– Call Student Finance on 0300 100 0611.
– Give them your student finance number or, if you don't know it, keep pressing random numbers (a hack) until you get through to an operator.
– Say: "I'm calling to see if I'm owed any repayments."
– Get money.
The amount you're paid will be added back on to the amount you currently owe Student Finance, but it's going to take you so long to pay that back anyway that you might as well get that quick cash injection now if you need it. Plus, a 2017 study found 83 percent of graduates are forecast to have some of their debt written off under the current system, so why not take that £245 (Jack), £150 (me) and £28 (Emma), and – very temporarily – live it large?
Update: If you've received an email or call from someone claiming to represent the Student Loans Company, always check with the official 0300 100 0611 number. Don't hand over your bank account details to strangers!