The private rate of return to a university degree in Australia

Anne DALY, Phil LEWIS, Michael CORLISS, Tiffany Heaslip

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


This article presents estimates of the private monetary benefits in Australia associated with the completion of Bachelor degrees for a range of fields of study under a range of different assumptions. For the average person, results show strong monetary incentives to complete these degrees and the private rate of return compares favourably with the real long-term bond rate. However, differences can be observed in rates of return according to gender and discipline of study with, generally, lower returns for women and for those holding degrees in the humanities. The results are calculated on varying assumptions which provide evidence of the robustness of the conclusions. Finally, implications for policy, such as university financing and increases in university places, are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-112
Number of pages21
JournalAustralian Journal of Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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