The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) said the student loan system is "out of control" and in need of urgent review.
The government has made it hard for most medium-earning graduates to ever pay off their loans by trebling student fees, basing interest payments on RPI plus 3%and raising the minimum level at which they start to repay their loans.
The result, as the NAO report reveals, is an unbelievable accumulated debt of £200 billion in 30 years’ time. It is grossly unfair that some graduates will be saddled with paying all their lives to subsidiseother students’ debts because the authorities won’t be able to trace graduates who go abroad or move in and out of work.
– Martin Freedman, director of economic strategy at the ATL
Over £5bn in public money paid out in student loans is unaccounted for because the Government lacks up-to-date information about the recipients, a report by the spending watchdog suggests.
The Business Department (BIS) is missing paperwork on employment or earnings for approximately 368,000 students, the National Audit Office found.
This could be because they are unemployed students living in the UK, EU students who have returned home or UK students who have moved overseas.
NAO head Amyas Morse said: "Given the expanding size of the student loan book, BIS now needs to take a more energetic and considered approach to maximizing the value of the loan book to the taxpayer and achieving a high level of collection performance."
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has released this statement ahead of a student protest against cuts to university funding:
The Government's reforms have made the university system fairer and more progressive.
Most students will not pay upfront to study; there are more generous loans, grants and bursaries for those poorer families and loans are only repaid once graduates have jobs and are earning over £21,000.
Students, like other citizens, have the right to participate in peaceful protest.
– Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokesman