How much is a degree really worth?

As you prepare to apply to university you may ask yourself how you’re going to afford it all. Funding arrangements can be a daunting element of university applications, but can the long term financial gain outweigh the costs? Yes, absolutely. And with a bit of concentrated research and an organised approach, getting your funding sorted won't be as scary as it first seemed.

There’s a lot of advice our there to help you make the most of your money and your degree. There’s also a lot of scaremongering that suggests that, with rising fees, the financial benefits of a degree don’t stack up. The mathematics of it all can get a bit much, so we’ve pulled together some key funding facts from a range of advice websites to explain why a degree is worth it.

You don’t have to pay for university right away

Student Finance helps UK and EU students pay university fees. If you’re eligible for the Tuition Fee Loan (and nearly everyone is), you will not have to pay back your tuition fees for quite some time. After finishing your studies you will pay a set amount each month. Normally this is deducted from your salary (in the same way as tax and National Insurance) before it hits your bank account, and only when you’re earning over £21,000 per year.

You pay back very little each month

According to MoneySavingExpert’s myth-buster article, students who earn over £21,000 are only made to pay back 9% of their earnings above £1,750 a month. “The [Tuition Fee Loan] system is, in reality, a graduate contribution, designed so that, in the main, those who gain the most financially out of university contribute the most”, the article says.

Student debt does not outweigh the graduate premium

What’s the graduate premium, you ask? Simply put, it’s the amount of extra money students can expect to earn as the result of having a degree. It’s often talked about in a way that makes it sound like it’s not financially worth it to have a degree, but wonkhe.com has debunked reports that say the premium is outweighed by student debt. Excellent!

But what exactly are the benefits of an undergraduate degree in hard, cold British pounds? UK government research from 2013 shows the average lifetime income gain, after taxes, National Insurance, pension contributions and student loan repayments for a male graduate is £168,000, and for a female graduate is £252,000. More recently, The Telegraph reported graduates could earn up to £500,000 more than non-graduates in their lifetime.

After 30 years the debt is wiped

Although you may pay back a certain amount, many people won’t pay off all their university fees. After 30 years the total remaining fees are wiped and all debt is cleared, says MoneySavingExpert.

It’s not all about the tuition fee loan

It’s easy to get caught up thinking about only what the Student Loans Company can do for you, but once you’ve worked out what you’re eligible for in terms of the Live chat and Send us a message, start thinking about what individual universities can offer you. At London Met, you could benefit from bursaries or other support throughout your degree. Read more about bursaries.

Find out more at our funding workshops

We run regular funding and UCAS application workshops to help you with your applications. Check now for the next available dates.

Every year, London Metropolitan University helps hundreds of students find places on full-time undergraduate degrees. You can start a course at London Met in September, but many are also available to start in January. Take a look at Request a call or contact our course enquiries team for more information.

Student holding a heart with a question mark in it

Written by Joey Tamburello. Joey is a first class graduate of the London Met Journalism degree. She runs her own entertainment blog, Let’s Start With This One.

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