Going to university could be a waste of money, ruin your chances of buying a home and wreck your credit score.
These were just some of the stark warnings issued to potential undergraduates counting down the days until A-level results are published on 18 August.
Research by the Intergenerational Foundation (IF) found graduate wages don’t justify university fees unless you go to Oxford or Cambridge, or become a doctor
The IF report looked at both the cost of further education and the size of the “graduate premium” – the earnings boost graduates expect during their career. Researchers concluded that high levels of student debt mean going to university simply isn’t worth it anymore.
Angus Hanton, co-founder of the Intergenerational Foundation, said: “Any politician that dangles the carrot of a graduate premium on future earnings to justify increases in student fees, interest rates on loans, or adjusting student loan repayment thresholds, should be challenged for gross mis-selling.”
According to the Sutton Trust, the class of 2015 left university with an average debt of £44,000 and typically owe more than their counterparts in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Currently graduates start repaying student debts when they earn £21,000 or more a year.
But IF claims that for most graduates, debt repayments will cancel out the salary uplift from going to university.
The main exceptions are attending a top university or studying medicine or dentistry.
The IF report was published just days after maintenance grants for students from low income families were replaced by loans.
Previously, students from families with annual incomes of £25,000 or less received a full grant of £3,387 a year. But the grants stopped being available on 1 August, and students now have to borrow more to pay for their living expenses.