Staff at the Student Loans Company received almost £2m in bonuses last year, figures have revealed.
Student Loans Company admitted that about £1,893,500 was paid in bonuses during 2008-09. Three bosses received £21,000 bonuses, while two received payouts of £15,000 and five were given £10,000.
About 1,600 of the SLC’s 1,876 staff picked up rewards.
The payouts were made while a system that has left thousands of students waiting for grants and loans was being developed, the BBC reports.
The Liberal Democrats, who discovered the bonuses under Freedom of Information laws, said rewarding failure was unacceptable.
Lib Dem universities spokesman Stephen Williams said: “It is absolutely outrageous that the Student Loans Company, which has acted so incompetently this year, has been paying out these massive bonuses.
“While students have been left struggling to make ends meet, the company’s top executives have been enjoying five-figure bonuses.
“Some of these pay-outs are more than many people earn in a year. Rewarding failure in this way is totally unacceptable.”
The Student Loans Company said it operated a bonus scheme structure to reward hard-working staff, adding that the bonuses were for last year’s work and that decisions on this year’s bonuses would be made in due course.
A spokesman said: “Employees’ objectives are monitored throughout the year and they are given an individual performance assessment at the end of the year.”