University degree worth racking up debt for, say FDs

Link: Directors need training too

The rising costs of higher education may be causing a great deal of concern within the student community, but finance directors still think the benefits gained from going to university far outweigh the costs.

This week’s Accountancy Age/Reed Accountancy Big Question found that nearly three-quarters of those asked believed a degree education was still worth the money spent by students. This is despite a huge increase in the amount of debt graduates accumulate during their time at university.

Nearly one-fifth, however, are now concerned that getting a degree may be more costly than it is worth.

‘Looking back at my own degree, time, effort and money spent was like purchasing an annuity – a large outlay at the time but every year since I have seen a return on that investment,’ said Lee Blunden of Britannia Parking.

Obtaining a degree is still thought vital for getting a good job, but there are concerns that, to maximise the benefit, students need to know what career they want before university.

‘Investment in a degree, probably more than ever, requires young people to have a clear idea of the career path they wish to follow and the value that a degree qualification contributes to their career path,’ said one FD.

‘A degree-level education is still important: even if only for the doors that will remain open to those seeking opportunities later,’ said David Brassington of BAM Entertainment.

Some finance directors said the value of the degree had been damaged irreparably by the proliferation of graduates. ‘In the present recruitment market, a degree no longer guarantees you a good job or a good salary,’ said one respondent.

‘There is too much emphasis by schools on degrees with everyone being pushed into doing one, hence their value is lowered,’ said Peter Fisher of SCA Packaging.

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