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Yearnings not earnings

How can time at university be valued beyond a measure of graduate salaries?

It was back in February 2019—more than two and a half years ago—that Playbook asked then universities minister Chris Skidmore if it was possible to square the following circle: how can data on graduate earnings be a reasonable measure of success if salaries in different regions vary so widely?

To take an example: if a University of Leeds student, recruited from the local area, stays in Yorkshire and goes on to earn 10 per cent more than the average salary for the county, the amount they earn will be less than that of an average earner in London. If we are to use graduate earnings as a proxy for university quality, something must be done to celebrate the ‘levelling up’ that universities do for people who study and remain in their local areas.

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