To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate his Department has made of the average additional lifetime earnings of higher education graduates; when this figure was most recently calculated; and how many students were in higher education at that time.
The Department draws on various estimates of the lifetime earnings benefits for degree holders, arising from both external and internal analysis. Generally they all estimate the lifetime earnings benefits of having a first degree over and above two or more A-levels (the 'graduate premium').
These estimates indicate that first degree graduates can expect to earn, on average, over £100,000 more over their working life, in today's values and net of taxes, than similar individuals who stop their education with two or more A-levels
This is for the average graduate, and the actual position for any individual will vary around this average.
There have been several calculations of the graduate premium in recent years, using data from different time periods and/or slightly different methods, though they have all used data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS-a sample survey) and the broad approach is consistent. These have all come to similar conclusions, albeit with slightly different estimates, which is why it is generally not expressed as a single figure but rather as a range or being above a certain value.
Some of the estimates are noted as follows, along with an indication of the data periods used for each one:
|LFS data period||Graduate premium estimate||Source|
|1994-2002||Net males: £142,000||(1)Sloane and O'Leary, 2005|
|Net females: £158,000|
|2000-05||Gross: £160,000||(2)PWC, 2007|
|2004-07||Net £120,000||DIUS internal, 2008|
|(1) "The Return to a University Education in Great Britain, O'Leary, N.C. and P.J. Sloane (2005), National Institute Economic Review, No. 193; pp 75-89. |
(2) "The Economic Benefits of a degree", UUK/PWC, February 2007.
The number of students in higher education for each academic year since 1999/2000 was as follows:
|All HE students||Undergraduate only|
|UK HEIs||English HEIs||UK HEIs||English HEIs|
| Source: |
HESA data. All: modes of study, levels of study, domiciles. http://www. hesa.ac.uk/index.php/component/option.com_datatables/ltemid,121/task,show_category/catdex,3/#institution