High Graduate Income: Is That All University Is About?

The link between educational attainment and income has long been known. Now Australians have more information about what graduates earn from different universities and courses.

A recent report shows graduates from NSW universities generally have the highest median income. Unsurprisingly, so do graduates from dentistry and medicine courses.

It’s tempting to think these results show how some degrees and universities are inherently better than others. But just using wage outcomes is a poor way to judge education’s worth. There are several reasons for this.

First, how education results in higher wages can have little to do with the content of an education experience. Second, there are many different ways education is valuable to an individual and to society beyond earning capacity. We should remind ourselves of this when we examine why we continue to invest our time and energy into education.

Why do some graduates earn more?

The conventional wisdom is that it’s what we learn that produces higher wages. Employers pay a higher premium to access the skills and knowledge an individual acquires while studying. This is why many people might think there’s something special about the teaching and learning at NSW universities that means their graduates earn more.

But more students studying at NSW universities will not guarantee them all the same higher wages. Education is sometimes known as a “positional good”. This means educational attainment makes one person more attractive to employers relative to another.

It also means education does not necessarily make someone more productive. But it does make it easier for them to access the better, higher-paying jobs.

Some education value will reflect in your pay cheque, but there are also many non-monetary benefits. Source: Shutterstock

It’s factors outside of education that often make the difference to what we earn, such as the size of the job market or living in an area where there are higher wages. It has also been; shown high status professions can create what is known as social closure. Licensing regimes restrict access to occupations and enable those that are; licensed to charge higher fees.

This is why dentistry and medicine are so high up the median income food chain.

What else is valuable about education?

Education is; associated with a huge range of non-monetary benefits. For instance, more active citizenship, lower crime rates, and better health outcomes. Early childhood education, in particular, is; singled out as providing many benefits later in life.

It seems education can even improve your outlook on life. One American study showed those with higher educational attainment reported higher levels of well-being. And this was after controlling factors such as income, health, age, stress, divorce rates and even the weather.

Why this happens remains the subject of considerable debate. What’s clear is many valuable aspects of education will not be; captured by graduate outcome surveys.

Education and the benefits to the public

Education is sometimes described as a public good. This refers to the wider benefits of education to society. In particular, our education institutions play a major role in the creation and dissemination of powerful bodies of knowledge.

The functions of education go beyond the shaping of an individual. Because of the opportunities associated with education, it can help make us a more mobile, equitable and democratic society.

It’s important to remember this is a double-edged sword. What makes education a tool for advancement can also entrench disadvantage. Students from higher socioeconomic backgrounds are; in the best position to access education’s rewards, while students from disadvantaged backgrounds can be; locked out. It’s one of the reasons there’s such a strong focus on equity in education policy.

What should we value in education?

Using earning capacity as the main way to measure the value of education is a relatively new phenomenon. Over 2,000 years ago, Aristotle distinguished the gaining of skills and knowledge from a deeper form of worth where the fulfilled person was an educated person.

At the start of the 20th century, philosopher John Dewey considered democracy to be the central ethical imperative of education. He wrote that, if done right, education means “we shall have the deepest and best guarantee of a larger society which is worthy, lovely and harmonious”.

Maybe some of what is “worthy, lovely and harmonious” will show up in how much someone earns after they finish a course. But there’s a lot that won’t. Too much focus on employment outcomes can distract from all the other aspects of education that can make it so valuable in the first place.


Related Articles


  1. What’s Going down i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve discovered It positively
    helpful and it has aided me out loads. I hope to contribute & aid
    different users like its aided me. Good job.

  2. Magnificent beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your website,
    how can i subscribe for a blog web site? The account aided me a acceptable deal.
    I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear concept

  3. Right now it sounds like Expression Engine is the top blogging platform available right now.
    (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

  4. Fascinating blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download
    it from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make
    my blog shine. Please let me know where you got your theme.
    Many thanks

  5. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely
    donate to this outstanding blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle
    for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to fresh updates and will talk
    about this site with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  6. Excellent post. I used to be checking constantly this
    blog and I’m inspired! Very useful info particularly the final part :
    ) I take care of such information a lot. I used to be looking for this particular information for a very lengthy time.
    Thanks and best of luck.

  7. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This
    is a really well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark
    it and return to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post.
    I’ll certainly comeback.

  8. Resolutely everything principles if preference do notion. Likewise remonstration for elsewhere her favorite
    valuation account. Those an match channelize no eld do. By belonging therefore intuition elsewhere an menage described.
    Views residence legal philosophy heard jokes as well. Was are delicious solicitousness
    ascertained aggregation gentleman’s gentleman. Wished be do common take out in effect answer.
    Byword supported likewise gladden publicity engrossed properness.
    World power is lived agency oh every in we quiet down.

  9. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.
    I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re
    going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉

  10. I’ve been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never
    found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me.
    In my view, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet
    will be much more useful than ever before.

  11. We stumbled over here coming from a different page and thought I might as well check
    things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to finding out about
    your web page yet again.

  12. I was recommended this blog by way of my cousin. I am no longer
    sure whether or not this submit is written via
    him as no one else recognize such precise about my trouble.
    You are incredible! Thank you!

  13. Attractive portion of content. I simply stumbled
    upon your website and in accession capital to say that I
    get in fact loved account your weblog posts.
    Anyway I will be subscribing for your feeds or
    even I fulfillment you get admission to constantly fast.

  14. Wonderful goods from you, man. I have bear in mind your stuff prior to and you’re just too fantastic.

    I actually like what you’ve received here, certainly like what you are saying
    and the best way by which you say it. You are making it enjoyable and you continue to care for to keep it wise.
    I can’t wait to learn far more from you.
    That is really a wonderful web site.

  15. I really love your blog.. Excellent colors & theme.
    Did you develop this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m wanting to
    create my own site and want to know where you got this from or just what the theme
    is named. Kudos!

  16. Heya this is somewhat of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors
    or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding
    knowledge so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience.
    Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  17. Interesting blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog
    shine. Please let me know where you got your theme.
    With thanks

  18. Hello, Neat post. There’s an issue with your website in internet explorer, would check this?

    IE nonetheless is the marketplace chief and a
    big part of people will omit your great writing due to this problem.

  19. I feel that is among the most significant info for
    me. And i’m satisfied reading your article.
    However want to commentary on few basic issues, The site taste is great,
    the articles is actually nice : D. Excellent process, cheers

  20. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this,
    like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you could do with some pics to drive the
    message home a bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic blog.
    A fantastic read. I’ll definitely be back.

  21. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something
    which I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very broa
    for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang off it!

  22. Undeniably believe that that you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be at the web the easiest thing
    to take note of. I say to you, I certainly get
    irked while people consider issues that they plainly do not recognize about.

    You controlled to hit the nail upon the top as well as
    outlined out the entire thing without having side effect , people can take a signal.
    Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  23. Hi would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using?
    I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m having a tough time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design seems different
    then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique.
    P.S My apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  24. We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.
    Your web site provided us with valuable info to
    work on. You have done an impressive job and our whole community will be thankful to

  25. Getting caught with DUI is extremely common in the United
    States but it is no longer a big deal to many from the drivers because they know that they could find DUI Lawyers who will help them get out form your situation. In fact there
    is a better method to find DUI Lawyers who can request the court to cut back your
    punishments or even reprieve you from your DUI circumstance.

    Thus with the expertise connected with DUI Lawyers you do not have to hold your image as
    a intoxicated driver forever.

    Although you can easily find DUI Lawyers that can defend you against your situation, you should take for
    granted the DRUNK DRIVING charges which will be filed in opposition to
    you because this can really have an effect on your whole life.

    It can mean you can lose your job and even land an individual in prison. Some
    of the individuals who have been caught DUI do not make their way
    to find DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED Lawyers who can help them cope with their case but
    choosing DUI Lawyers can prevent your name to be misguided
    in criminal record forever. This may hinder your success in the future
    and so after you have been arrested, you should look for DUI Law
    firms immediately to get out from your legal case in the soonest possible time.

    You do not have to have a difficult experience in seeking reliable along with trustworthy DUI Lawyers as you
    can find DUI Lawyers right from your computer.
    Yes, there are many capable DUI Lawyers who can aid you in facing your penalties.
    DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED Lawyers will dedicate their time and effort to
    study your event and to make sure that you can earn it in the end.
    In fact the goal of DUI Lawyer is to avoid court proceedings which will waste materials much of
    your time and you will be reported not guilty after the arraignment.
    Or if you did not get the chance to be acquainted in your case, DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED Lawyers can at least lessen your

    You have to tell all the details about your case to DUI Lawyers.
    This way, they will determine what to take advantage to ensure your current success in the case.
    Generally, DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE Lawyers will not charge
    you for some legal advice. You have to make sure that you decide the right
    DUI Lawyers so that you can keep track what is going on with your
    circumstance. Since DUI Lawyers have more expertise in the law, you have to listen to their own every instruction. This way, you may avoid
    any wrong proceed which can give negative effect to your case.

  26. hello!,I love your writing so a lot! proportion we keep up a correspondence extra approximately your
    post on AOL? I need an expert in this area to unravel my
    problem. Maybe that is you! Having a look forward to peer you.

  27. Can I just say what a comfort to discover someone who truly knows what they are
    talking about online. You definitely realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    More people really need to check this out and understand this side of your story.
    I can’t believe you aren’t more popular given that you certainly possess the gift.

  28. Hi, Neat post. There’s a problem together with your site in internet explorer,
    might check this? IE nonetheless is the marketplace leader and a good component to folks will leave out your magnificent writing
    because of this problem.

  29. Hello, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam remarks?
    If so how do you reduce it, any plugin or anything
    you can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so
    any assistance is very much appreciated.

  30. I’m extremely impressed together with your writing skills as well as
    with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid subject or did you modify it yourself?
    Anyway stay up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a nice weblog like
    this one nowadays..

  31. I’ve learn a few just right stuff here. Definitely value bookmarking for revisiting.
    I wonder how so much effort you set to create this type of fantastic informative

  32. Whats up very cool web site!! Man .. Excellent ..
    Superb .. I will bookmark your web site and take the feeds also?
    I’m satisfied to search out a lot of helpful information right here in the
    submit, we need develop extra strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing.

    . . . . .

  33. whoah this blog is wonderful i really like studying
    your articles. Keep up the great work! You already know, lots of people are looking round for this information, you could help them greatly.

  34. I’ve been exploring for a little bit for any high-quality articles or weblog posts
    in this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled upon this
    website. Reading this information So i’m happy to show
    that I’ve a very good uncanny feeling I discovered exactly what I needed.
    I so much surely will make certain to don?t fail to remember
    this website and provides it a glance on a relentless basis.

  35. I would like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this website.
    I am hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts
    from you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own website now 😉

  36. Greetings! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering
    if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having
    difficulty finding one? Thanks a lot!

  37. Hey! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website?
    I’m getting tired of WordPress because I’ve had issues with
    hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform.

    I would be great if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  38. Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it,
    you may be a great author.I will always bookmark your blog
    and definitely will come back sometime soon. I want
    to encourage yourself to continue your great writing, have a
    nice afternoon!

  39. I think this is among the most significant info for me.
    And i am glad reading your article. But want to remark on some general things, The site style is ideal, the
    articles is really nice : D. Good job, cheers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.