The study compares the earnings (and employment) of people who have a first degree (and 2 or more A-levels) with those with 2 or more A-levels and no higher education degree, irrespective of the subsequent qualifications.
The predicted private benefit of a degree in lifetime earnings (net of tax and loan repayments) is around £168k for men and £252k for women. They estimate the social benefit to the government at between £264k – £318k.
They were primarily interested in:
- the differences in the impact of a degree across subjects
- the impact of post-graduate qualifications
- the impact of degree quality
- the impact of a degree obtained by part time study
- the impact of a degree obtained later in life (as opposed to straight after school)
Some interesting findings include:
- that part-time study only has a small positive effect on the probability of having a high income after 42 months.
- They estimate: “very substantial effects of a degree on the net present value of the life cycle of incomes.”
- They also suggest that there are not large differences in the returns of different types of higher education institutes.
Find the paper here.