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On average, graduates have few reasons to regret obtaining a degree and more reasons to be cheerful

  • 30 November 2017

Responding to HEFCE’s finding that graduates have higher levels of wellbeing than non-graduates, Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said:

‘We have conducted the biggest survey of student wellbeing annually since 2014. We have consistently found students to be less happy and more anxious, on average, than both the rest of the population and young people overall. They are living away from home for the first time, confronting new ways of learning and worried about their future prospects.

‘So this new research is important in confirming that higher education works out for most people most of the time. Degrees have non-financial benefits alongside the boost in earnings from graduate-level jobs. People who go to higher education are, typically, more resilient. They generally have few reasons to regret obtaining a degree and more reasons to be cheerful.

‘In all the current upheavals caused by changes like HEFCE’s closure and the opening of the new Office for Students, it is vital that we remain focused on listening to students and graduates. But we must not forget the 50% of people who do not go to higher education, for this data confirms they need better options too.’

Notes to Editors

The HEPI / HEA 2017 Student Academic Experience Survey report and data are available at

HEPI’s two recent reports on student mental health are at:




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