Students can no longer bank on the “graduate premium” of significantly higher lifetime earnings unless they go to Oxbridge or take degrees in areas like medicine, dentistry or science, a new report has said.
Tuition fees are currently capped at £9,000 per year, but that will rise from 2017. Credit: Fotolia
The Intergenerational Foundation estimates that graduates earn about £100,000 more than non-graduates over the course of their working lives, amounting to £2,222 per year before tax.
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Angus Hanton, the co-founder of the thinktank, said: “Any politician or policymaker who dangles the carrot of an average lifetime earnings premium should be challenged for gross mis-selling.
“The current system is fuelling a self-perpetuating debt-generating machine that short-changes young people.”
The report argued that the growing number of people going to university was “further undermining” the value of a degree.
It also highlights the vulnerability of student loans to changes in terms and the possibility of the Government selling off the debt book.
“Paying off these huge, unquantifiable and relatively unregulated debts will wipe out any graduate premium in all but the highest-paid professions,” it adds.
The Government said its estimates were that the ‘graduate premium’ was worth £170,000 for males and £250,000 for females over their working lives.
“All of our reports, based on independent data, have shown that a degree continues to give graduates a big earnings boost,” a spokesman said.