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What Do Students Earn After Their Tertiary Education?

What do students earn after their tertiary education? looks at the group of nearly 30,000 young domestic students who last enrolled in a tertiary education institution in 2003, and examines the influence of their tertiary education on their one-year and three-year post-study earnings.
The report examines:

  • What are the earnings for those with different levels of tertiary study?
  • What are the earnings for those from different fields of study?
  • What is the difference in earnings between those who complete a qualification and those who don’t? How much difference is there between those students who pass all their courses but do not complete a qualification, those who pass some of their courses, and those who don't complete anything? Are there benefits to passing courses without gaining qualifications?
  • Does it matter which type of provider you study at? Does a university qualification result in more benefit than a qualification at the same level in the same field from a non-university provider?

These questions are important for government, tertiary education providers, and students. Both government and students contribute significant funding to tertiary education. Total government spending on tertiary education in 2008 was $4.8 billion, or 2.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Both government and students have an expectation that the money they spend represents an investment, that the financial benefits (of a well-paying job) will eventually outweigh the costs of this education. Knowing more about the nature of these benefits can help both government and students decide what they should be investing in.

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