Right to buy: A proposal to end the student loans crisis

Estelle Clarke
Finance and Society, 2017, 3(1): 74-90


The UK student loans system is in crisis and the government plans to sell off student loans to corporate purchasers. Such loan sales disadvantage government, the taxpayer and student borrowers. The government should give student borrowers the ‘right to buy’ their own loans for the same price the government is prepared to sell those loans to corporate purchasers. If borrowers purchased their own loans, disadvantages of loan sales would transform into advantages. The ‘right to buy’ can fairly be extended to all borrowers, regardless of whether their loans are being sold; this is done by extending the ‘right to buy’ as a ‘right to reduce’ student loans. The ‘right to reduce’ also provides a solution to the problem of how to ‘deal with’ existing student debt. Because the ‘right to buy’ and the ‘right to reduce’ both follow government’s pricing for loan sales, they should be universally acceptable; moreover, government, taxpayers and borrowers would be better off.

Policy proposal