Mark Littlewood writes for The Times
Although the rewards of attending university are not exclusively about career earnings, there is little doubt the prospect of enhanced wages are a key factor in the decisions made by school leavers. Committing to a three-year bachelor’s degree is likely to leave you around £50,000 in the red. It also involves the opportunity costs of being outside of the labour market. If you don’t feel a decently paid job will be your reward, or you will at least secure your first foothold on an impressive career ladder, you may well look back on your time in higher education as a crushingly expensive luxury, even a frivolity.
In a quest to ease the costs for students, the Higher Education Policy Institute recently put forward a proposal to levy a graduate tax on employers. The concept appears to be that if businesses are benefiting from taking on a more qualified and skilled workforce, they will have little grounds for complaining if there’s a mark-up on wages for graduates. However, the dynamic effects of such a policy could further undermine higher education. If a company is weighing up whether to take on a relatively expensive graduate as opposed to relatively cheaper recruit straight out of school, they will need to be sure the mark-up is worth it. A degree in a soft humanities subject, or in the much-maligned media studies, simply might not be worth the premium. The consequence could be that recent graduates find it even harder to break into the workforce.
Read the full article here.
Further Reading: The Profit Motive in Education: Continuing the Revolution