Research Database

The private rate of return to a university degree in Australia

Type of Publication: Journal article

Lead Organisation: University of Canberra

Year Published: 2015

Lead Researcher: Anne Daly

Written by Anne Daly, Phil Lewis, Michael Corliss and Tiffany Heaslip, Centre for Labour Market Research, University of Canberra

Published in the Australian Journal of Education Vol 59 Issue 1

Jan 2015


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.

Continue reading

Daly, A., Lewis, P., Corliss, M. and Heaslip, T. 2015. “The private rate of return to a university degree in Australia.” Australian Journal of Education, 0(0). 1-16. DOI:10.1177/0004944114565117.

Posted 14 January 2015