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Lifetime value of HE reconfirmed in UK, no difference between ‘old’ and ‘new’ universities

VU International News and Reviews No. 12 September 3 2013

September 2013

In a new study published in August by the UK government, Ian Walker and Yu Zhu statistically demonstrate the  significant value in terms of lifetime earnings of a Higher Education degree in the UK. They the likely impact on  discounted lifecycle net earnings of having a degree, relative to not having a degree, to be 28% for men (approximately £168k) and 53% for women (approximately £252k) on average.  

Grades do matter: their estimates for a good degree (first or upper second) are significantly larger than for lower degree classes (by £76k for men and £85k for women, on average). Estimates of differences by degree subject are not robust enough to draw conclusions. 

Names matter less: the research does not suggest large differences in returns across broad types of HEI: lifetime returns on study at ‘new’ universities (including the former Polytechnics) are not significantly lower than at the revered ‘old’ universities. 

NB these findings are in line with the broader OECD data in Education at a Glance. 

Report available through kees.kouwenaar@vu.nl.  

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