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What is a Degree or Masters worth?

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Article by: Joe Short

In a climate where university tuition fees have increased significantly, it’s understandable that many potential students, plus their friends, colleagues and parents, are concerned about the value of a degree, what university study is worth and the financial return of university study. They are asking the question – “is a degree or masters worth it?” The answer to “what value is a degree or masters” depends on so many variables and outputs. What’s the price on confidence, soft skills, networking and personal development? Plus studying is a long-term investment in your own potential. It’s therefore difficult to sum up what a degree or masters is worth to you, but what we can do is help you to understand the financial aspect of higher education impact.

The financial impact of a degree or masters

To help answer this, we have built a simple tool that works out your potential earnings with a Degree or Masters – the “higher education earnings calculator“. Using independent data it also takes into account your industry and age to indicate whether it’s worth it for you. Try it now and see for yourself.

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What does the evidence say?

The calculator is based on findings from the 2015 Department for Business Innovation & Skills that show the impact an undergraduate and postgraduate degree can have on salary.

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*Graduate Labour Market Statistics Jan – Mar 2015 It shows on average, graduates earn £9000 more a year compared to non-graduates. For postgraduates it’s even more, with earnings £8000 higher than graduates. The findings go on to say that “graduates and postgraduates have a higher employment rate and are more likely to work in high skill jobs than non-graduates“. It’s fair to say that the increased number of employment opportunities higher education provides often prove rewarding – both personally and financially.

How does the calculator work?

It’s clear that graduates and postgraduates earn more on average than non-graduates but what this doesn’t show you is how it would impact you and the industry you work in. This is where the earnings calculator can help. The earnings calculator determines your typical lifetime earnings with and without a degree or masters as well as the difference between the two. It takes into account your age, industry and study level and utilises various government research to calculate your results as illustrated below:

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