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UK: Education Secretary calls for an end to low value degrees

Christian Fernsby |
Universities and higher education providers offering poor value degrees are letting down thousands of students and costing the taxpayer millions, the Education Secretary has warned.

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Damian Hinds has called on institutions to drop or revamp courses delivering poor value for money as new analysis shows that on more than one in 10 of all courses, there is a 75% chance that graduates won’t be earning enough five years after leaving university to start making loan repayments.

Every subject has the potential to generate a positive return, but the percentage of courses where the loan repayment threshold is not met five years after graduation varies from subject to subject.

For example, for psychology it’s more than a fifth of courses and for creative arts it is almost 40% of courses.

Graduates must start repaying their loans when they earn £25,000 or over.

Mr Hinds has recognised the need for degrees to be both high value to students and the economy, and urged them to make sure they are using the unprecedented levels of data available to them to make sure they are picking a course and institution that is right for them onsidering alternatives like technical education or new high-quality apprenticeships.

The same analysis identified around 20 providers where at least three quarters of all students are still not earning enough to start repaying their loans five years after graduation.

While research shows a university degree can improve a person’s earning potential and employability, Mr Hinds believes the figures should be a ‘wake up call’ for universities about their responsibility to deliver the best outcome for students.

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