Revealing information about graduate earning potential for different UK universities and courses could soon be publicly available, as the government works to release anonymised data.
If universities agree to the plan, salary data from HMRC will be cross-referenced with alumni records to provide an insight into the future prospects of students studying specific courses at specific universities.
The information will be handed to web developers, who can use it to build online tools to help students better understand the opportunities available to them.
Anthony Adeloye, co-founder of Gradlancer, which connects students with employers for freelance work, said that improved transparency about career potential will not only help students with their university decision, but also when considering employment options.
“The decision of what to study is a momentous one and anything that helps students to make a more informed decision can only be welcomed. The government’s plans mean that students will have a much better understanding of their choice and what earning power their chosen career has,” he said.
“What this plan will do is educate these graduates on what other employment options are available to them based on their skills but also how much they pay. This means that this government initiative is a win-win for all students.”
It remains to be seen how web developers will use the data to facilitate a better understanding of career and earning prospects among young people.
The options presumably include university or course performance tables and interactive decision-making tools.
In the United States, the Department of Education recently launched a College Scorecard, which collates information on fees, graduation rate, alumni salaries, financial aid, debt repayment and SAT requirements.
It also lets prospective students search for institutions based on size, location, degree programme and other priorities.
Matthew Hancock, the UK government’s minister for the Cabinet Office, has apparently taken inspiration from the US College Scorecard, and said that the UK government also endeavours to use technology to help young people achieve their full potential.