Press release

MillionPlus comment on IFS graduate earnings report

27 Nov 2018

MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, has commented on the Institute for Fiscal Studies report: The impact of undergraduate degrees on early-career earnings, published today (27 November).

Dr Greg Walker, Chief Executive of MillionPlus, said:

“As the report’s author acknowledges, this research doesn’t tell the whole story on graduate returns as it provides only a snapshot of earnings for those who have reached their late twenties. This is very early in most people’s career and it would be wrong to draw conclusions about long term returns from higher education by this point.

“The use of Longitudinal Educational Outcomes data as the main metric for assessing the benefits of studying for a degree is problematic, as it fails to capture the full range of graduate employment patterns. It can never capture the wider benefits of degree study, in terms of broadening student’s horizons, enhanced health outcomes and higher social and community participation.

“More broadly, the attempt by some to boil the benefits of a university education down to pennies and pounds alone is reductive and unhelpful. As any school teacher or nurse working anywhere in Britain will tell you, a graduate is more than just their salary.”


Notes to editors

  1. For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 7717 1658 or email
  2. The impact of undergraduate degrees on early-career earnings is published today; it is available here
  3. MillionPlus is the Association for Modern Universities in the UK, and the voice of 21st century higher education. We champion, promote and raise awareness of the essential role and impact of modern universities in the UK’s world-leading higher education sector. More information can be found at
  4. What are modern universities? Modern universities are long established centres of higher education in their communities with roots that stretch back decades, if not centuries. Many gained university title following legislation agreed by parliament in 1992. They make up almost half of the UK university sector with over a million students studying at modern universities every year.
  5. Modern universities: key facts 2018