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Higher Education: Finance

Question for Department for Education

UIN 76894, tabled on 20 July 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 16 July 2020 to question 70489 on higher education, what the cost was to the public purse of support for higher education in each of the last 10 years, by degree subject area.

Answered on

28 July 2020

Reliable estimates of the historic cost to the public purse of degree subjects at this level of disaggregation are not available.

Recent research published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies looked at how financial returns to higher education, for both students and the taxpayer, differ by subject studied. They estimate that, on average, the taxpayer gains £110,000 per male graduate and £30,000 per female graduate through extra tax and National Insurance contributions less unpaid student loans, with economics and medicine seeing the greatest returns and creative arts seeing the lowest returns. The publication is available here:
https://www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/R167-The-impact-of-undergraduate-degrees-on-lifetime-earnings.pdf.