Deciding whether to send your child to university is a difficult thing, particularly if your son or daughter doesn’t have a set career that requires a degree in mind. With the rise in tuition fees in 2012 and the changes made to maintenance grants and loans in 2016, it’s no surprise that students and their parents are seriously weighing up the benefits of university before they enrol on a course.
However, there are many benefits to getting a university education, aside from the obvious academic ones, that need to be considered before making a choice.
Here are just some of the benefits of university for your son/daughter:
Student debt is the main reason people choose not to go to university, but a better way of looking at it is that student debt is another tax, rather than a debt.
Graduates will only pay back 9% of what they earn over £21,000 and all debts are wiped after 30 years. Realistically the majority of graduates won’t ever pay back their entire debt and only high earners will repay larger sums each month.
If at any point your child’s earnings fall below the £21,000 threshold – for example if they lose their job or take time off to have children – then they’ll stop paying until their earnings go back up again.
Effectively this means that if your child doesn’t gain an awful lot financially from university, then they won’t lose an awful lot (or anything at all) from the experience either.
This is the biggest and most talked about reason for students to continue on and get a university education.
On average graduates earn 50% more than people without a degree. Not only are starting salaries higher, but the chances of promotion (and the pay rise that goes with it) are greater.
Graduates automatically get a wider choice of jobs when they leave university in comparison to those who enter the job market straight from school or college.
Many companies, particularly larger ones, offer graduate recruitment programmes and aren’t overly specific about the degree you need to be employed by them. Benefits of these programmes include a starting salary that could be double that of someone without a degree, company cars, and fast-track schemes into management level roles.
Statistically the unemployment rates for graduates is around half that of non-graduates, so not only has your child got higher salary expectations, they’ve got a better chance of finding a job in the first place.
Even if your child chooses to study a non-vocational subject, such as English or History, they’ll be learning a variety of skills that are highly transferrable and sought after by employers in any number of industries.
Many courses offer international study options and work experience placements, all of which give them the chance to build a strong CV before they’ve even left university.
For many students, going to university is the first time they’ve lived away from home, and they’ll discover a lot about themselves when living independently.
Universities offer their students a lot of support, both financial and practical, giving students a “safe” environment to make the mistakes that we all made when we moved out of home for the first time.
University isn’t just about studying; although of course that is the reason they’re there!
Going away to university gives your child the chance to try new things, visit new places, and meet new people – some of whom could become lifelong friends. Getting involved in clubs, societies, events, and parties is all part of the university experience and you should encourage your son or daughter to make the most of these opportunities.
Personal development is a big part of becoming an adult and universities are set up to help students discover things they enjoy.
Various studies have shown that there are a whole host of personal benefits that graduates have over non-graduates.
For example, graduates are less likely to smoke, more likely to exercise, and less prone to depression. They’re also likely to be more involved in their future children’s education and be active citizens who are influential in their local community.
Graduates also show a more positive attitude towards issues of equality, diversity, and equal opportunities.