University doesn’t pay off for most graduates

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graduation_hat_tassel_flip_anim_500_wht_14455unless they studied medicine, dentistry, technology or went to Oxbridge or the Russell Group universities.

Graduates have been sold the high pay myth but starting salaries show the reality.

  • If you studied design, psychology (one of the most popular courses), media studies or English then starting salaries range from £16 – 17,000.
  • Maths, economics, engineering & technology, and computer science graduates can expect£22 – 25,000.
  • Medicine and dentistry  graduates can expect to start at £28,000.
  • Graduates for post-92 former polytechnics typically start on £18,000 compared with £25,000 for Oxbridge graduates.

Going to university puts you in debt of up to £53,000 which costs you more over your working life than you than it benefits you.

The government claims that the graduate premium is worth an average of £400,000 over a 45-year career. An independent think tank thinks it’s nearer £100,000.

That’s £2,200 more than people who didn’t go to university and is wiped out by tax and NI contributions.

The co-founder of Intergenerational Foundation which published the report  (The Graduate Premium: Mann, Myth or Plain mis-selling?) accused the government of gross mis-selling.

Angus Hanton said “The premium is simply not enough to cover the interest accruing on the average loan. The current system is fuelling a self-perpetuating debt machine which short-changes young people

The government refutes the findings of the report claiming male graduates can boost their earnings by £170,000 and female graduates by £250,000 based on independent reports. (So not the £400k then?)

But isn’t this a problem of supply and demand? We have too many graduates for the jobs available. And many of those have Mickey Mouse degrees offered to tempt the less academically inclined students.

University expansion has created  the need for more students to fill places and grade inflation has been used to attract them, especially foreign ones. More students than ever are obtaining 1st or upper second degrees.

The report’s author Stephen Kemp said “The UK already has more overqualified workers than any OECD country other than Japan but higher degree qualifications have not led to increased graduate pay

He said employers are now demanding a degree for many lower-skilled jobs without needing to pay any graduate premium at all. Maybe that’s because employers can no longer put a value on a degree classifications.

At one time going to university was about more than getting a degree to get a job. Students learned about sharing opinions, hearing alternative points of view, even travelling abroad in the vacations.

Now with all the emphasis on safe spaces and avoiding micro-aggressions they don’t even get that for their money.


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