Unless you’re a medic or a dentist, there’s no value in going to uni

A new report says it’s not worth the money


The majority of degrees won’t give you a good enough salary to cover your student loan, according to a damning report on how much higher education is costing you.

Research from the Intergenerational Foundation found courses like medicine or dentistry and studying at Oxbridge and other elite unis would give students a financial edge over those who didn’t go to university. But student loan repayments, rising fees and the scrapping of maintenance grants is making university cost more than its worth.

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University should give you an extra £100,000 in earnings, compared to a non-grad, but this is being eaten away by your loan repayments – which can be up to nine per cent of your wages. Fees were increased to £9,000-a-year, but even these are set to rise further. As of yesterday, maintenance grants – sums of cash given to poorer students to help with social mobility and ensuring everyone had a chance to get a good education – were binned in favour of bigger loans. The Tories said it was “unfair” to expect the taxpayer to foot the bill.

The competitive job market is also a major factor. Fine arts students could be the most hard done by. Almost a third of them end up working in retail, compared to just 4.7 per cent of those who picked engineering. Medics and dentists earn an average of £29,000 straight out of uni, compared £18,500 for philosophy and just £16,500 for creative arts.

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And regardless of your university’s position in the league tables, top employers rely more on reputation than quality of teaching. Oxbridge students earn on average £25,500-a-year, compared to £20,000 for older unis like the Russell Group – and less than £19,000 for former polytechnics. The sheer amount of league tables, their wide variation and how they value certain factors, all contribute to a skewed picture of how good your university is.

The debt for an average student – who has taken the full maintenance grant and borrows the maximum amount to cover their fees – is £53,000. For anyone from a household with an income of less than £25,000, this has shot up from £40,000.

And to top it all off, we might be the first generation to be worse off than our parents.