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Oxbridge earnings premium laid bare

Oxbridge graduates earn more than those from newer universities from the moment they start their first jobs, new research reveals.

The report found that the average starting salary for a graduate of Oxford or Cambridge was around £25,600; some £7,600 higher than the average £18,000 starting wage for those from so-called "post-1992" institutions.

Oxbridge graduates also earned around £3,300 more than their peers who attended one of the 11 other most selective universities, it added.

Once background and other factors were taken into account, Oxford and Cambridge students still took home starting salaries that were around £4,800 higher than those earned by graduates of new universities and around £2,500 higher than those of graduates from other elite institutions.

Sutton Trust chairman Sir Peter Lampl said: "This new research shows how important it is that we enable low- and middle-income students with the ability to go to Oxbridge and other elite universities to fulfil their potential.

"With your chances of going to a top university nearly 10 times higher if you come from a rich rather than a poor neighbourhood, it is vital that we redouble our efforts to improve access to these institutions."

The report, based on official figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, also found that Oxbridge students who had been the first in their families to study for a degree earned around £1,000 more on average than students from richer families.

Three and a half years after leaving university, students who attended the 13 most selective universities – including Oxford and Cambridge – earned, on average, 17 per cent more than those who had graduated from a post-1992 university.

The researchers also looked at the differences between subjects and found that students who studied medicine, engineering, technology, economics or computer science were likely to earn the most.

The report comes after another study, from the Social Market Foundation, found that children who attended private schools would earn £193,700 more on average between the ages of 26 and 42 than those who went to state schools.

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