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UUK response to Education Secretary’s call for end to low value degrees

​Universities UK has responded to calls from the Education Secretary Damian Hinds for an end to low value degrees.

Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: “Most university graduates earn significantly more than non-graduates – on average c£10,000 more a year.

“Students are right to expect value for money and universities are striving to deliver this and address any concerns. However, salary outcomes shouldn’t be the only measure of value. Many graduates work in vital roles in the public and charitable sectors or creative industries that make hugely valuable contributions to society and enrich our lives. Others set up their own businesses, with little income in their early years after graduation, but this does not mean that they are not high achievers.

“It is irresponsible to discourage people from studying at university when there are such clear benefits for graduates, business, our public services and communities. We must not discourage the next generation of teachers, nurses and entrepreneurs which this country desperately needs.”

Notes

  1. UUK’s briefing on the uses and limits of Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) data is available on our website.

  2. A recent IFS study showed that for many people – and women in particular – going to university enhances both their employability and earnings potential. This is based on graduate’s earning aged 29.

  3. Universities UK in its submission to the Augar review has highlighted the real need for those entering higher education to have the best possible information to help them choose what and where to study. We have called for the government to work in partnership with universities, colleges and schools to provide clear and tailored information to prospective students on the costs and benefits of higher education.

  4. The creative industries make a significant contribution to the UK. Creative Industries Federation data shows that in 2017 our creative industries were worth £101.5bn. The creative economy accounts for 1 in 11 jobs across the UK.

  5. The UK has a reputation as the leading creative nation, demonstrated by the Royal College of Art and the University of the Arts London recently being named one and two in the QS global rankings of art and design institutions.

  6. The government’s own research has shown there are a range of benefits, beyond salary, for graduates. Evidence shows that having a degree means that graduates are less likely to be unemployed, less reliant on social security and use fewer NHS resources. They are also more likely to be engaged in civic and community life, volunteering their time and skills. All of this is good for students themselves and for the taxpayer.

  7. Universities UK is the collective voice of 136 universities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Its mission is to create the conditions for UK universities to be the best in the world; maximising their positive impact locally, nationally and globally. Universities UK acts on behalf of universities, represented by their heads of institution. Visit: www.universitiesuk.ac.uk

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