Student Loans Company rakes in £1 million from phone calls
Students and graduates charged up to 41p a minute when calling for advice on their loans…
The Student Loans Company netted over a £1 million from the phone calls of worried students and graduates over the past five years.
Calls to the not for profit organisation’s 0845 number cost up to 41p a minute. The SLC raised over £325,000 in revenue in the 2010/11.
Monthly revenue rose to £52,000 in September 2010, at a time when the SLC experience a spike in calls from students about to start university.
They claim that with seven contact centres across the country, using the 0845 number is the most economical option, and they are in fact cutting the cost to the public.
A statement read, “[It] allows calls to be routed to the next available adviser at any location, ensuring that calls are answered as quickly as possible. Any revenue from telephone calls is used to offset our overall telephone charges.”
Owen Burek, editor of Save The Student, said it was “completely unacceptable” that the SLC should profit from students and graduates by using the premium rate 0845 number.
He said, “many are likely to be calling about missing loan installments or simply for advice on repayments.”
“The costs associated with higher education for today’s students are already far too high. While we may only be talking a few pounds for students calling the SLC, that’s still money that could be better spent on paying towards their education.”
The news will come as many students worry about their loans as the new year starts. A study last year showed that on average, students leave university with debts amounting to £19,400 .