This has left many concerned over rent and living costs with the largest overpayments made to the poorest students - recipients of means-tested grants, who are often mature students without parental support and with children or caring responsibilities.
It is understood that the payments, made to second and third-year students, had not been adjusted for the NHS bursary they still receive. Other students received grant funding despite unsuccessful applications.
RCN student member Emma Moss from the University of West London said: “This is the last thing I need in the final few months of my nursing degree. I’m worried sick about being left with barely enough money to pay the rent, buy food and travel to work and university.
“When I called the Student Loans Company in September to question my payments, they told me that there was no error. Now they tell me that I owe almost £800 and will not be receiving my next instalment. If they take this money from me, I have no idea what I’m going to do.”
The RCN has sent the SLC a letter, urging the loans company to use existing overpayment policies to reach an agreement with the Education Secretary not to recover the figures.
In the letter RCN Chief Executive Janet Davies said: "Students budget according to loan forecast and a sudden withdrawal of payment can have disastrous results, such as inability to pay rent. This action comes at a critical time when students are studying for exams and projects.
"I am very concerned about the considerable amount of distress and disruption this error and subsequent action is causing."
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