When will your student loan be written off, cancelled, or paid off?

It’s a question I’m asked all the time. Current students from England now need to wait 40 years after leaving university before their loans will be wiped, their predecessors only 30 years. Yet there are more options even than that, it all depends on when and where you started university.

This information has been a long-term part of my Should I repay my student loan? guide (where you’ll find lots more info on interest rates and more) but I thought it’s worth breaking it out as an easy one-off form of reference.

So the table below explains, regardless of how much you still have left in your loan account, after what point repayments stop.

When are outstanding loans wiped?

When you STARTED higher education When the loan is wiped Death Unfitness to work
1990 – 1997 
(if aged under 40) (1)
Earlier of 25 years after your first payment of your last loan agreement (usually the start of your final year), or when you reach age 50 Yes Yes
1990 – 1997 
(if aged 40+) (1)
When you reach age 60 Yes Yes
1998 – 2005
(England, Wales, and Northern Ireland)
When you reach age 65 Yes Yes
1998 – 2006
(Scotland)
Earlier of 30 years from the April after you leave university, or when you reach age 65 Yes Yes
2006 – 2011 
(England, Wales, and Northern Ireland)
25 years from the April after you leave university (when you were first due to repay)

Yes Yes
2007+
(Scotland)
30 years from the April after you leave university (when you were first due to repay) Yes Yes
2012 – 2022
(England)
30 years from the April after you leave university (when you were first due to repay) Yes Yes
2012+
(Northern Ireland)
25 years from the April after you leave university (when you were first due to repay) Yes Yes
2012+
(Wales)
30 years from the April after you leave university (when you were first due to repay) Yes Yes
2023+
(England)
40 years from the April you were first due to repay (the later of April 2026 or the April after you leave university) Yes Yes

(1) This is the age that you were when your last agreement for a loan was made – usually your last year of study.

To ensure you understand the process: when you have a student loan, you're eligible to repay it after you leave university and once you earn enough (exactly how it works depends on which loan type you have), but you’re only eligible to do that for a set time.

Of course, some will clear the student loan in full before then, in which case they won’t need to pay any more. If not, once you get to the time deadline shown above, you don’t need to make any more repayments, whether or not you cleared what you owed in full. This happens automatically.

That means in practice the student loan is wiped, or cancelled, or written off – however you want to think of it. 

Some also ask who pays the student loan if I don’t clear it in full – well the link takes you to a blog I wrote back in 2018 (the principle still applies if the data has changed) written on just that.