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Should You Go To University? – The Key Considerations


The presence of student tuition fees (we’ll touch more on these below) remains a controversial talking point in the UK, with many believing that higher education should be free and accessible to everyone.

Certainly, the cost of living as a student represents a significant challenge in the modern age, even accounting for some of the available perks such as cheaper public transport and targeted discounts in retail and food outlets.

In this post, we’ll compare the cost of student life with the ability of higher education to translate into higher earnings, while asking whether this improves your chances of getting a job.

Do Graduates Get More Money?

The short answer to this question is ‘yes’, although there are a couple of caveats to keep in mind here.

According to various studies (including this research carried out by the Higher Education Statistics Agency and the University of Warwick), it’s consistently true that those who graduate from higher education earn a higher salary on average than those who didn’t go to university.

Of course, this rule varies from one subject and job role to another, while it’s also fair to say that the so-called “graduate premium” isn’t as generous as it once was.

However, there’s definitely a financial advantage to be found if you get a first-class degree or a 2:1, so the best and most successful graduates can definitely cash in!

How Much Does a Degree Cost?

Of course, any potential increase in earnings should be measured against the cost of higher education in the first place, and as we’ve already touched on, student tuition fees equate to some £9,250 a year in total.

This sum may also be increased further by the cost of maintenance loans in some instances, along with accommodation costs and other lifestyle elements over the course of your three or five-year course.

While the cost-benefit analysis is likely to be in favour of pursuing higher education (depending on your chosen subject), there are also ways through which you can increase your income and manage university costs more effectively.

For example, securing a part-time job may be viable so long as it doesn’t negatively impact your studies, while affordable and quick loans for students are also available depending on your circumstances.

Does Higher Education Improve Your Chances of Getting a Job?

There’s no doubt that the 2008 financial crash altered the nature of the job market and made it considerably harder to find full-time work, while this trend will have been further impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Of those job roles that remain available, a growing percentage will require candidates to hold at least a bachelor’s degree, particularly in the creative industry and markets such as finance, technology and other skilled alternatives.

In this respect, higher education definitely translates into better career opportunities, while this trend is becoming more prevalent with every passing day.