With the expense of tuition for international students in the UK student debt is one of the most common ways of funding the UK PhD.  I got an email from a friend that might give a little extra comfort with regard to this for US students with US loans…

I wanted to share a new program being launched next year in July 2009, the Project of Student Debt. This program will allow forgiveness of student loans after 10 years of working in public service or education. Also classified under this umbrella would be anyone working for a 501(c)3 charity, ministry, or school. Check out this link to see if you could qualify or tell others about it. This program will be retro-active as well. Another benefit is that over a certain amount of debt, you would be charged a percentage of your monthly income (this is called “income sensitive”) instead of the regular scheduled amount.

So from what I read, if you teach at a university, among other jobs, you should qualify.  Check out more details here: Project on Student Debt and here