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The average student loan debt for those who graduated in 2012 is £19000, with an average payback period of 11 years for men and 16 years for women. To illustrate the scale of our academic debt, in England alone there is an estimated outstanding value of around £50 billion. According to new research, employers are becoming increasingly aware of the adverse impact that student loan debt can have on their graduate staff and the progress of their early career.

The terms and responsibilities of student loan and the potential impact that debt can have on your life - such as on credit rating - are often not well known or understood by recent graduates. And money worries account for a proportion of absenteeism and can negatively impact effectiveness and productivity, while those with debts are less likely to contribute to company benefits, such as pensions. Many commentators are calling for a review into the kind of support that businesses provide for their young employees.

Jeanette Makings, a Director of Financial Education, stresses the way to approach graduate debt is not to panic, but to seek support:

'When considering the loan repayment versus savings decisions, it is often an emotional response that people make rather than one driven by financial planning.

She continues: 'As with the concept of using retirement lump sums to pay off a student loan, using savings or capital to pay off a student loan may not be the solution a financial adviser would recommend.'

(image:SeanmcEntee/FlickrCC)

Blair Cadell are a leading firm of Edinburgh solicitors, dealing in a wide range of property, business, tax and personal legal services.