With all the talk about how much it is going to cost you to go to university, what are the things that you should consider when making your choices and how much should cost influence your decision?
1.Should cost matter?
With the Student Loan system, cost should not be a prohibiting factor to anyone so ultimately you should choose a degree that you really want to study. Getting a degree is not easy. Studying for a degree that doesn’t interest you as much, or you have chosen because it was cheaper than one that interested you more, will make it even harder.
However the fact is that the student loans and grants available do not allow you to live in luxury and in a lot of cases it is expected that students would receive additional support either from parents, which isn’t always the case, or by working part time. Therefore, depending on your circumstances, you may need to bear the cost in mind and consider it, but try not to make it your deciding factor when choosing a degree.
2.Is it worth the cost?
With the escalating costs of the going to uni, one of the questions you might want to ask yourself is will it be worth it? What is your ultimate career goal and will the investment pay off? It is of course difficult to answer this, but in general terms graduates do earn more than non graduates. The estimated impact on your net lifetime earnings of getting a degree is 28% more for men and 53% for women, on average, compared to not having a degree. So whilst you may be incurring a debt to study for your degree, in the long run, it should help you to earn more.
3.Value for Money?
Take a look at the statistics that are available on the courses and unis you are interested in and decide which ones appear to represent better value for money. You can find a whole range of statistics on different courses at UniStats where you can compare courses based on overall student satisfaction, employment of graduates and their starting salaries. Just because a course only provides students with 7 or 8 hours contact hours, does not necessarily mean that it is not providing value for money. If the students are satisfied with the course and it leads to employment then it is probably very good value for money.
4.Tuition fees and costs of living
With the current cap on tuition fees set at £9,250 a year and many universities charging the full £9,250 the differences in courses up and down the country is not huge, however the differences in the cost of living can be significant. Living and studying in London can be up to 30% more expensive than in the North of the country.
5.Scholarships, grants and bursaries
Once you have decided on the subject you wish to study and you have selected the universities you would like to apply to, it is worth taking a look at the scholarships, grants and bursaries that you might be eligible for at each university as in some cases this can significantly reduce the costs of your degree. If all other things are equal, applying to the universities that offer additional funding could make a difference to the amount of debt you incur.