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Degrees gap on earnings.

Byline: By Graeme Whitfield

Pupils from the North-East who go to Scottish universities will earn less than those who stay in England, a study has revealed.

Thousands of North youngsters study in Scotland, but a study has now revealed that graduates north of the border earn an average of pounds 30,400, while people leaving English universities earn pounds 31,900.

Applications from the region to study in Scotland have risen after the introduction of tuition fees convinced many students to go north.

Scottish universities yesterday insisted that their degrees were every bit as good as courses in England and the difference in earnings was more down to the overheated labour market in London and the South-East.

The study by Robert Wright, professor of economics at Stirling University, and Mark Taylor, from Essex University, found there was a pounds 1,500 gap between graduates of English and Scottish universities working in England.

That gap was even more pronounced in Scotland, where people with English degrees earned pounds 11,500 more than those with qualifications from Scottish institutions.

But Robin McAlpine, from Universities Scotland, said: "The average salary of people graduating from Scottish universities is lower but that is because of labour markets.

"If you take London out of the equation, things even themselves out a bit more.

"Certainly we're not seeing any fewer people come to universities in Scotland.

"Our institutions are extremely well-regarded and applications have been increasing year-on-year."

Applications from English students to Scottish universities have jumped 12pc since the vote to introduce top-up fees in England, even though the increased fees will not be introduced for two years.

Many North-East students have traditionally gone to universities in Edinburgh and Glasgow, particularly to well-regarded medical schools and scientific departments.

The threat of thousands of English "fee refugees" taking places at universities north of the border led the Scottish Executive to increase the cost of courses by pounds 700 a year for English students.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 17, 2004
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