Last February Theresa May ordered a review of post-18 education led by Philip Augar, a former equities broker. The Prime Minister came under pressure on the issue after it was felt that the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge to abolish tuition fees won support from young voters in the last general election.
Ministers have previously criticised universities for running “threadbare” courses in a rush to get “bums on seats”.
The Education Secretary recently criticised the proliferation of “low value, low quality” courses which churn out graduates who go into poorly paid jobs and are unable to pay back their student loans.
The study by Onward found that men who have taken degrees in Creative Arts, Communications, English, Agriculture, Psychology, Philosophy and Languages at some universities will earn less than the national living wage, on average, five years after their graduation.
Male students studying Creative Arts from Bolton University earn an average of £14,400 five years after graduation, which is lower than the full-time national living wage.
Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK, has said that it is “irresponsible” to discourage people from studying at university when there are “such clear benefits” for graduates, business and public services.
“Students are right to expect value for money and universities are striving to deliver this and address any concerns,” he said.
“However, salary outcomes shouldn’t be the only measure of value. Many graduates work in vital roles in the public and charitable sectors or creative industries that make hugely valuable contributions to society and enrich our lives.”