The CBI presents a pragmatic view of what has to happen to Higher Education during this recession. University education is not recession-proof, yet the government has asked universities to cut their budgets by £180 million over two years and still expects graduate numbers to increase. Instead of growing graduate numbers in a time of recession, why not attempt to maintain standards?
The student loan system means a rise in fees should be swallowed fairly painlessly until we actually have to pay our debt. This shouldn’t be a problem if you’ve chosen a useful degree.
What do I mean by a ‘useful’ degree? Well, a degree that the job market is after. The CBI is concerned with business and competitiveness on an international scale. It is in their interest for the education system to produce the graduates they need. Degrees leading into professions like law and medicine have always provided healthy salary prospects for graduates. Now, degrees in science and engineering are garnering higher graduate salaries. A Chemical Engineering graduate should be looking at a starting salary of £24,000 – £32,000 p.a. Conversely, my potential degree in Politics lands a job with nearly average pay in my first year.
Industry are clamouring for more maths, science and engineering degrees and increasing the cost of a degree should help valuable degrees get more attention from prospective undergraduates while encouraging business to find and reward excellence. It is, after all, the graduates of the future that will be making the future profits of business.