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The economic benefits of obtaining a degree

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February 13, 2007

February 14, 2007 We all intuitively know that having a degree offers many advantages but just how much difference it makes has now been quantified in a new report from Universities UK, the vice-chancellors’ umbrella body. The report highlights the economic benefits associated with higher education qualification attainment and shows that the gross additional lifetime earnings is now approximately UKP160,000 or between 20 and 25% more for individuals with a higher education qualification than for those with two or more A-levels (UK Secondary qualifications). The study showed the financial benefit of a degree is greatest for men from lower socio-economic groups or from families from lower levels of income, and the benefits associated with HE qualifications increase as graduates get older. The image shows the end of a graduation ceremony at the University of Hull

The report looks at a number of factors when assessing the benefits of a higher education qualification, including gender, socio-economic group and subject of qualification. The benefits are also discussed in the context of a wide number of non-financial benefits such as health, reduced crime rates and social cohesion.

Diana Warwick, Chief Executive, Universities UK: “We already know that graduates in the UK enjoy one of the highest financial returns of any OECD country. This report provides evidence that despite the expansion of higher education, the graduate premium has been maintained. Higher education is still clearly a worthwhile investment for the individual.

“While we know of course that the vast majority of graduates don’t measure the value of their degrees in purely economic terms, the enhanced career opportunities and employability that a degree brings is nevertheless a key factor in deciding whether to go on to higher education.”

Professor Drummond Bone, President, Universities UK, added: “This report also highlights the economic benefits of higher education for our wider society. As such, it adds to the evidence put forward in our submission to the Government’s Spending Review 2007, supporting our call for continued public investment in higher education.”

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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