Student loans administrator Erudio is to write again to thousands of graduates to confirm new deferment deadlines, after a second admin blunder in a month caused widespread confusion over when deferment application forms need to be submitted.
Earlier this month, 7,000 pre-1998 graduates were told their deadlines for deferring their student loan payments for the coming year would be extended after Erudio failed to provide them with the relevant paperwork on time.
Erudio apologised and sent those affected a new deferment pack but put the wrong date on all the paperwork, leaving graduates unclear when they were supposed to return the forms. While the deferment pack told graduates they had 56 days to respond from the date it was sent, the packs themselves were backdated by up to three weeks.
MSE forum user FuriousFeline was one of many to complain: "It is unclear which date the 56 days is supposed to start from whether Erudio consider the 56 days to start from the date they sent the letter or whether the 56 days start on the day the letter is received".
Erudio's now apologised for a second time. It says the packs had the wrong dates on them because in an attempt to get the forms out as quickly as possible, they were re-issued without the original dates being altered.
A spokesperson agreed this was "confusing" for graduates, adding: "This is why we will be writing to confirm the new deadlines from the end of the month. This correspondence will be staggered depending on the deadlines."
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How do I know if my deferment date's been extended and what it is now?
Under the terms of a student loan credit agreement, you are either expected to make regular repayments or you can apply to defer your repayments for a year. If you took out a student loan for a course starting in 1998 or earlier and have a gross monthly income of £2,402 or less (equivalent to £28,828 per year) you may be eligible to apply for deferment.
Erudio says if you didn't receive your deferment pack on time, and then received a backdated pack stating you have 56 days to respond, you will have your deadline extended.
From the start of May you should get a second letter confirming your actual deferment deadline. Erudio says this will be posted at least 40 days before your new deferment deadline, and should take no more than three days to arrive.
How will my new deadline be calculated?
If you're one of 7,000 affected graduates, your new deferment deadline will be at least 56 days from when the new deferment pack is posted NOT from the date which appears on the deferment pack.
'High volume of calls'
If you haven't received a letter confirming that your deadline is extended or you want clarity on when your form is due, you can contact Erudio for further information on 0333 003 7188.
Some users who've called up to try to clarify their deferment deadlines have reported problems getting through.
An Erudio spokesperson says: "Some customers may have struggled to get through as we had a high volume of calls as initial problems with deferment packs meant that there were a lot of people trying to get in touch.
"Any customer who is worried, or who thinks there may not be enough time to complete the forms and return them, will be able to speak to an adviser and we will do everything possible to make sure that they aren't prevented from deferring."