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The impact of undergraduate degrees on early-career earnings

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The report compares earnings of 29-year olds with experience of higher education compared to those who do not have a degree.

Universities and other higher education providers should scrutinise new data on graduate earnings carefully.

Commenting on new research conducted by the Institute for Fiscal Studies on behalf of the Department for Education on the impact of a degree on earnings, Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the Office for Students, said: 

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 ‘This important research demonstrates that, for the vast majority of students, there are clear financial benefits of getting a degree.  It is crucial that prospective students have access to high quality information about where, what and how they might study. This research provides a wealth of data to let students understand how the course and institution they choose may affect their earnings potential.  

‘Of course, better financial prospects are only one reason why people go to university. Higher education also delivers important social and educational benefits to individual students and society as a whole. There are also many rewarding careers that may not attract high salaries, especially early in someone’s career. But universities should scrutinise this data carefully, and some will need to ask themselves tough questions about how well they are preparing students for life after graduation. Universities and other higher education providers registering with the Office for Students must meet a number of conditions around the quality of their provision, including on the outcomes they help deliver for students. Where they fall short of our expectations, we will not hesitate to intervene.’

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