Bradford students have run up a staggering £80 million of debt, worrying figures have revealed.

And the total is only the amount owed in student loans. It does not include any other debts, such as credit cards, they may have.

According to official figures released by the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills, the £80 million is owed by 10,000 students – an average of £8,000 each – who have now left higher education.

The students started university after 1998 and registered their permanent address as Bradford – not those from elsewhere who studied in the city.

Across England £8.6 billion is outstanding in income-contingent loans – the new system which came into force in 1998.

Opposition MPs have called on the Government to address the issue of student debt, fearing spiralling costs make it harder to get onto the already-difficult housing ladder.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Innovation, Universities and Skills Secretary Stephen Williams said: “Today’s students are facing unprecedented levels of debt. These figures don’t take into account the commercial debt many students build up in addition to their Government loans.

“This will have a dramatic long-term effect on their ability to buy homes, start families and save for old age.

“Ministers must consider easing the burden on students whilst they are studying, and reconsider how much students should be earning before having to repay their loans.”

The maximum amount a student could apply for last year was £4,625 for those living away from home (£6,475 in London) and £3,580 for those living at home.

From 2005 people started repaying everything once their postgraduate income passed £15,000. Any debts still outstanding after 25 years – from loans or fees – will be written off. Ministers believe most people will clear their debts after 13 years.

The figures research by revealed nearly one third of parents expect to spend more than their monthly disposable income kiting out their child’s university room as fresher’s week approaches.

But Bill Rammell, Minister of State for Higher Education, said: “I want people to aim for university confident that they’ll have the help they need to fund their studies, which is why I’m pleased to see that more and more people are taking advantage of the improved financial support on offer.

“This autumn more students than ever before – indeed, two thirds of eligible new undergraduates – will be entitled to a non-repayable maintenance grant of up to £2,835 a year.

“Together with loans available for tuition fees and living costs and bursaries that universities offer, this improved package of support means nobody should be put off considering higher education for financial reasons.

“A university degree remains a good investment for the future, a fact confirmed by recent figures showing a 6.4 per cent increase in university acceptances for England compared to last year.”

e-mail: newsdesk