Arts graduates cost the taxpayer £35,000 each, a new analysis finds

Degrees in “creative arts” subjects – which includes Music, Drama, Fine Art and Design Studies – are the most costly to the taxpayer since so few alumni earn enough money to pay back their student loan in full. The Telegraph reports.  

Of the £9 billion that the government spends on higher education each year, more than £1 billion is on creative arts courses alone, where three-quarters of the total amount dished out in loans is picked up by the taxpayer. 

Economics degrees are the least costly to the public purse, with each one costing an average of £11,000 to the taxpayer, with just a quarter of the loans written off.

Laura van der Erve, one of the report’s authors, said the findings raise “serious doubts” over whether the current levels of Government subsidy “aligns with the degrees that are most beneficial to society”.

The IFS analysis also found that the cost to the taxpayer differs by type of institution as well as subject. Graduates from Russell Group universities – who are typically high earning – cost the government less than £25,000 each, on average.

Meanwhile, costs are more than 20 per cent higher for “post-1992” universities, where the average graduate earns much less.   

David Palfreyman, director of the Oxford Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies, said the “fixation” with going to university “sends us off down the wrong track”.  

He said that “even if one is a bit sniffy” about creative arts, the same applies to teachers and nurses, many of whom also fail to repay their loans in full but whose jobs are vital for society.

A previous IFS report found that almost eight in ten graduates will never pay back their full student loan under the new tuition fees system.

Read the full article Arts graduates cost the taxpayer £35,000 each, a new analysis finds

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