HC Deb 20 May 2004 vol 421 cc1160-1W
Mr. Wills

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the rate of return on each subject studied at each university. [172109]

Alan Johnson

The Department does not conduct a formal cost-benefit assessment, or rate of return, to university qualifications by subject or by institution.

However, the Department has commissioned research to estimate the earnings benefits of different degree subjects. Table 1 shows the estimated percentage wage premium by subject over and above someone with A levels alone.

Table 1: Wage benefits to HE by subject1
Subject Women Men
Languages 20 4
Health 24 23
Nursing 12 10
Science 7 11
Maths 19 22
Engineering 11 18
Architecture 21 10
Economics 20 23
Law 24 23
Education 2 -3
Social science 4 6
Arts -2 -8
Combined 5 11
Analysis provided by Ian Walker and Yu Zhu, from data used in their research: "The Returns to Education: Evidence from the Labour Force Surveys—DfES research report No.313.

Recent research evidence has also found up to 44 percentage point differences in average graduate earnings depending on the institution attended.1

1 Conlon and Chevalier (2000) Financial Returns to Undergraduates and Tuition Fees, CIHE.

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