Three-quarters of graduates will never pay off their student loans while most will still be paying theirs into their 50s, according to a new study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).
The introduction of maintenance grants replacing loans has sent debt soaring with students from low-income families now graduating with debt of more than £57 000.
Expected repayments from the lowest-earning third of students have increased by about 30% since 2012, compared to the highest-third which rose by less than 10%.
The probe said that interest rates on student debt were "very high" at up to 3% above inflation.
The average student who borrows £45 000 ends up paying another £5 800 in interest, while higher earners may have to fork out £40 000 in interest repayments.
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