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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Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014; second edition in process) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.