Research has revealed that students graduating with ‘mickey mouse’ degrees from polytechnics are earning higher salaries compared to their peers. Courses such as games art and e-sports production can lead to better-paid jobs within five years of graduating, even surpassing the salaries of some courses at Russell Group universities. According to data analysis by Discover Uni, students studying a Bachelor of Arts in computer graphics, vision, and games at Aberystwyth University earn an average salary of £34,000 five years later. Similarly, those studying a Bachelor of Sciences in games design from Bournemouth University earn an average salary of £32,000. Graduates of e-sports production from the Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies, which is run through Nottingham Trent University, earn an average of £31,500 five years later.
However, graduates of neuroscience from Nottingham University earn an average of £30,500, while law students from Liverpool take home £29,000. Craig Chettle, the founder of the Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies, emphasized that while going to the Russell Group universities is commendable, it is not the only path to success. Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute think tank, echoed this sentiment, stating that the obsession with the Russell Group needs to end, not only among parents but also teachers and ministers. He highlighted that the Russell Group is a self-selecting lobbying club of older universities, and there are over 100 other universities with their own specializations.
In response, a spokesman for the Russell Group defended their universities, stating that they deliver strong outcomes for students from all backgrounds. They cited the latest figures, which show that graduates from Russell Group universities are more likely to complete their courses, progress to skilled employment, and earn above-average salaries. In the 2020/21 academic year, 84% of working graduates from Russell Group universities were in highly-skilled employment after 15 months of graduating.
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