Latest Public Sector News

17.01.13

Fewer students cost economy £6.6bn – think tank

A drop of 30,000 students in higher education could cost the economy £6.6bn in the long-term, a think tank has warned.

Million+ states that an undergraduate degree brings graduates an extra £115,000 over their working life and a masters adds a further £59,000. The net gain for the Treasury is £94,000 per graduate – a return of 10.8% on the cost of financing an undergraduate degree.

The think tank conducted a study suggesting the value of higher education is greater in a tougher job market, as it can offer greater protection against unemployment.

The report states that, based on 2011-12 data “the total value of these qualifications to those new entrants stands at approximately £36bn in today's money terms”.

This year has seen a record drop in applications to university, although no final figures have been published. Million+ estimates that a “conservative” drop of 30,000 could mean a loss to the economy of £6.6bn.

Million+ chairman Patrick McGhee said: “As well as opening up new opportunities for individuals, the Treasury reaps exceptionally high returns from its investment.

“If efforts to increase access to university are not sustained, these significant benefits could be eroded with longer term consequences for the economy as well as individuals.”

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