Magazine article Times Higher Education

Economic Benefits of Higher Education out Weigh Cost to Taxpayer 'Even during Times of Financial Crisis'

Magazine article Times Higher Education

Economic Benefits of Higher Education out Weigh Cost to Taxpayer 'Even during Times of Financial Crisis'

Article excerpt

Public spending on higher education is a "good thing" and graduates delivered economic benefits to the UK even during the financial crisis, according to analysis by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

"The average employment rate of tertiary-educated individuals in the UK increased even during the crisis (by 0.1 percentage point) while the employment rate among individuals with lower levels of education decreased by 3.3 percentage points," says the OECD of the period between 2008 and 2010 in its "country note" on the UK, part of its annual Education at a Glance 2012 report.

UK graduates generate an extra Pounds 55,000 for society over their lifetimes "by paying higher income tax and social contributions - far outweighing the public cost of their education", the country note adds.

"Even between 2008 and 2009, when GDP fell by 4.9 per cent, the increase in labour income among tertiary-educated individuals contributed more than one percentage point to the UK's annual growth in GDP," the country note continues.

Andreas Schleicher, OECD deputy director for education, said at a press briefing in London on 10 September: "In most countries the benefits the public derives from more educated people outweigh the costs by a large margin. This also shows that it is quite a good thing to invest public money in higher education."

Mr Schleicher highlighted the OECD's analysis of average GDP growth and labour income growth for those with different categories of educational qualification between 2000 and 2010. …

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