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Study for a degree? There are 88,000 reasons why you should

Learn to earn says study Photo:

If you ever doubted the value of a University education, doubt no more - it could be worth thousands.

There is a slight caveat in that it rather depends on where you studied and if you happen to be a chap. But male graduates of the UK's most selective universities can expect to trouser around £88,000 more on average over their working life than someone who did not study for a degree, according to a new report.

But there is also a clear gender gap - with men who graduated from one of these leading universities earning significantly more than women.

The findings come from the London Economics study which is published by the Russell Group which which represents 24 top institutions including Cambridge.

The report examines the economic contributions that these universities make to the UK economy.

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£9
Return on investment for every £1 of public research funding given to Russell Group institutions.

It concludes that there is a significant "graduate premium" attached to going to a selective institution - one that has high entry requirements.

Overall, a full-time UK student who started at a Russell Group university in 2015/16 and completes an undergraduate degree will take home £88,000 more, after tax and loan repayments, than someone who studied for A-levels, or equivalent qualifications, but did not go to higher education.

Among UK men alone, this "graduate premium" is £108,000, while for women it is £73,000.

The study also shows that the typical economic benefit, to the graduate and the taxpayer combined, from someone who started at a Russell Group university in 2015/16, is £177,000 This takes into account the extra money a graduate would pay in taxes and spending in general.

Russell Group chair Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli said:

Sir Anton: Higher education is an investment in the future Credit: Russell Group

"This analysis shows undergraduates who started their courses at Russell Group universities in 2015 can expect a substantial earnings premium over the course of their career, with a typical net economic benefit per student of £177,000. Young people recognise that higher education is an investment in their future that will pay dividends long after they graduate. It is right that we look closely at how the system is funded, but we should never lose sight of that fact."

– Sir Anton Muscatelli
£34bn
Amount Russell Group universities will contribute to economy.

The report also found that the 166,000 UK Russell Group students who began their studies in 2015/16 will eventually contribute £20.7 billion to the UK economy in total, over their working lives.

Just over half (52%) of this will be in additional tax and national insurance contributions.

£1m
Amount every seven non-UK students studying at one of these universities will generate for economy.