Is a university degree really worth £9,250 a year in tuition fees?

Analysis: Men who take certain subjects at university earn less than their peers who went straight to work, but Eleanor Busby says we should be cautious of rallying against the higher education sector

Tuesday 27 November 2018 19:31
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Going to university can be a positive experience in and of itself
Going to university can be a positive experience in and of itself

The latest figures on potential earnings for university graduates paint a very mixed picture. If you’re a female considering higher education, you’re likely to feel reassured by the overwhelmingly positive gains. But for young men, signing up to tens of thousands of pounds of debt might not seem as attractive.

The government data, which has been analysed by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), suggests that thousands of men are enrolling on university courses each year that leave them worse off in future earnings by the end of their twenties than their peers who opted to avoid higher education altogether.

It is likely to reignite the age-old debate about whether university is worth it – especially for a specific group of male undergraduates. Men with low prior attainment, and no science or maths A-levels, only saw a small rise (4 per cent) in their earnings at age 29 compared with peers who went straight to work.

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