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Degree grade could be worth thousands in salary

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Students sitting their final exams probably have enough to worry about, but a helpful survey has decided to put a monetary value on that final degree grading. Those few marks that separate a 2:1 from a 2:2 could end up being worth over £80,000 in salary over the duration of a career. No pressure then.

The London School of Economics survey revealed that on average, students getting the higher degree mark earned over £2,000 more in their first annual salary after graduation. Their salaries will average around seven per cent more than their humble 2:2 friends.

The study focused on LSE students going into similar areas of employment, concentrating on students who just achieved the 2:1 grade and those who just missed out, in effect those candidates separated by just a handful of marks.

One of the researchers, Andy Feng, highlighted the salary differences. "'These higher salaries were caused by the 2:1 effect and nothing else," he said. "These were students who were broadly the same academic level and it was just a matter of what side of the threshold they fell."

Similarly, those who sneaked into the first-class degree category by a few marks enjoyed a higher salary expectation, although the difference was not as marked. They earned around £1000 a year more than 2:1 graduates.

The survey is a stark reminder of the real world implications of the often subjective and arbitrary university marking system. The government has already warned that companies place too much significance on degree gradings when recruiting. These findings will encourage students to demand more detailed and rigorous scrutiny of final grade marking procedures.

Those students who fail to get a 2:1 by the narrowest of margins may now believe it worthwhile to demand a reappraisal of their course marks, pointing out that it is worth thousands of pounds towards paying off those student loans.

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