Times Higher Education reports that news that the next round of England’s teaching excellence framework will use the Department for Education’s new dataset on graduate earnings by university and course is likely to raise concerns for some in the sector.
Countless factors affect the Longitudinal Education Outcomes data beyond the institution attended, such as prior school attainment.
The LEO data do not include information on exactly where graduates worked after leaving university, but comparing the average salaries earned with the location of the university attended gives a flavour of the kind of differences that occur.
In particular, comparing universities from the North and the South of England (defined by a commonly used approach of drawing a line from the Severn estuary near Bristol to the Wash, at the border of Lincolnshire and Norfolk) shows a clear divide in what graduates can expect to earn.
In only two subjects can graduates of northern English universities expect to earn more, on average, than those who go to universities in the South. And according to the data, it is law and maths degrees that have the biggest “North-South divide” in salaries.
The only subjects where graduates of northern universities earn more than those who attended institutions in the South are agriculture and economics. But even the somewhat surprising difference for economics has an explanation: a handful of less-selective universities in London bring down the average for southern institutions.
Some of the North-South graduate salary variations become even more pronounced when comparing universities with similar entry standards for students.
For those that admitted students with the highest A-level grades, for instance, economics courses in the South of England actually produce graduates who go on to earn almost £10,000 more on average after five years.
What do you think? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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