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Is University Really Worth It?


Students and their families who want to know whether the cost of studying for a degree is worth the cash outlay can check out their likely earnings online.A handy set of statistics on payscale.com plots earnings for a selection of degrees and major subjects.With fees and an ever rising cost of living, many students need to work out if their degree is worthwhile.According to the latest figures from government statistics and Oxford University, a student can expect to pay the following in the 2012/13 academic year: Average tuition fees of £8,536

Living costs of £3,900

Food costs of £1,800

Entertainment costs of £1,900

That’s a total of £16,136 a year. Taking a three year course would add up to £48,408 – then add a conservative £1,210 for 2.5% inflation, then the bill comes to £49,618 without holidays, transport costs and other extras like computers and electronic gadgets.

According to payscale.com, average starting pay for a graduate with a BA degree is £19,657.

This rises to £22,857 with up to four year’s experience and £29,912 with five to nine year’s experience, which puts most graduates in their early to mid 30’s.

Loan repayments start when a student earns £21,000 or more and accrue interest at around the rate of inflation plus 3%. The repayment is set at 9% of salary, making the minimum repayment £1,890 a year.

The question for most students is could they earn more doing the same job without going to university?

Certainly for many courses, like medicine and other science subjects, a degree is necessary.

The hard financial fact of life for many is they will be saddled with paying off their student loan until their early 30s, which will restrict their spending and borrowing power, with the likelihood they will have to put off buying a home and having children until later in life.