The Pursuit of Hire Education

Prospective students’ increased focus on graduate employment prospects and salaries in the wake of tuition fee rises will have profound repercussions for the sector in terms of setting fees, argues Christine Buccella

Across England, thousands of 17-year-olds are calculating the cost of getting an undergraduate degree, and it is not only the thousands of pounds of debt they will incur that is on their minds. They are attempting to determine which degrees will offer the best returns on their investment over the course of their future careers.

Should they study accountancy, whose graduates earn on average vastly more than arts graduates (42 per cent more for men, 37 per cent more for women)? Or opt for history, where the wage premium for men compared with an arts degree is still 11.7 per cent, but for women just 0.95 per cent?

Students are discovering that their choice of institution also has an impact on future earnings. Six months after graduation, those who have attended the University of Southampton, for example, earn on average around £2,000 more than graduates of the University of Manchester. But is this gap big enough to influence the choices of prospective students?

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Prospective students’ increased focus on graduate employment prospects and salaries in the wake of tuition fee rises will have profound repercussions for the sector in terms of setting fees, argues Christine Buccella

Across England, thousands of 17-year-olds are calculating the cost of getting an undergraduate degree, and it is not only the thousands of pounds of debt they will incur that is on their minds. They are attempting to determine which degrees will offer the best returns on their investment over the course of their future careers.

Should they study accountancy, whose graduates earn on average vastly more than arts graduates (42 per cent more for men, 37 per cent more for women)? Or opt for history, where the wage premium for men compared with an arts degree is still 11.7 per cent, but for women just 0.95 per cent?

Students are discovering that their choice of institution also has an impact on future earnings. Six months after graduation, those who have attended the University of Southampton, for example, earn on average around £2,000 more than graduates of the University of Manchester. But is this gap big enough to influence the choices of prospective students?

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