The extra money was taken by the Student Loans Company, an average of £577 extra for the 63,000 graduates who had diligently paid off debts.
The figures were unveiled by Money Mail, which was able to access the exact numbers under the Freedom of Information Act and showed that the overpayment amounts for university debts had doubled in just two years.
Under the scheme, students are forced to pay back what they owe directly from their earnings and, rather bizarrely, are handed the responsibility of working out when they have repaid what they owe. Unlike all other kinds of debts, it is down to the borrower to let the Student Loans Company know when they should stop collecting money. They must then wait for their calculations to be confirmed and could be kept waiting for several months, until any overpayment is refunded.
According to the information obtained by Money Mail, English students were overcharged by an eye-watering £29.9 million, an average of £577 each. Welsh and Scottish students did not escape the red tape either, suffering an average overpayment of £509 and £454, respectively.
The Student Loans Company have insisted that the delay in giving the money back to graduates is due to the time taken for the figures to be transferred from the HM Revenue and Customs system. A spokesman for the group admitted they hoped to be able to update the system in the near future, but did not have any further details. However, they added that students in the last two years of their loan could opt to switch to direct debit, but this method would still rely on the borrower keeping tabs on their debt.