Page last updated at 14:52 GMT, Tuesday, 21 April 2009 15:52 UK

Graduates may get interest rebate

Students in a bar in Liverpool in 2001
People who took out student loans before 1998 should benefit most

Graduates who have not yet paid off student loans taken out before 1998 may be in line for rebates later this year.

The interest rate on such loans is calculated based on the March rate for the Retail Prices Index (RPI) and is then applied from September.

While the government has not announced the interest rate yet, it has been equal to RPI every year since 1994.

March's RPI figure released on Tuesday came in at -0.4%, which means there could be a negative interest rate.

Interest rates on loans taken out after 1998 are calculated in a different way, with greater flexibility in how they are worked out.

The rates are the responsibility of the Treasury and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS).

A spokesperson for the Student Loans Company said: "Now that we know that the RPI is negative, Treasury and DIUS will consider the options and make an announcement shortly."

"The interest rate is only applicable from 1 Sep 2009, so there is no need for an immediate decision."

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