Could the cost of a PR degree double?

Update on my recent post regarding whether a PR degree is worth £3,000 a year – a Guardian survey shows University Vice-Chancellors believe fees need to double this amount to cover teaching costs (reaching £10,000 annually for some science degrees).

Quality education does cost money to deliver but £18,000 for a 3 year degree course (plus debt incurred for living costs) seems a huge investment to me.

At University, students face 50-minute lectures comprising hundreds of classmates and seminar group sizes of 20-plus.  This is not reflective of best practice supportive learning – nor adequate preparation for a career such as public relations. 

Contact with academics is minimal, giving little opportunity to participate in considered discussion and reflection of knowledge.  Self-managed group assignments do not provide the vocational skills that employers seek as they complain graduates aren’t capable of undertaking simple tasks without further training. 

The Guardian reports one respondent recommending a need for better financial planning if families want their children to gain a higher education and criticising the “well-off middle class” wanting to get this “for free, or at a cheap price.” 

I am not convinced that in a marketplace where degrees have become the norm, this person’s claim of “careers that offer salaries well above the national average” is the reality.   The debts experienced at a young age, set bad financial habits for life. 

Or am I mistaken and a career in PR makes it easy to repay the debt incurred?

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

6 thoughts on “Could the cost of a PR degree double?”

  1. Account executives in Scotland earn between £12,000 – £15,000 when they start out. So in terms of when should people start paying back their debts that is about right. But having that debt taken off your salary, however small in amount, at the beginnnig of you career – with interest – dents your chances of getting on the housing ladder amongst other things.I think if they charge goes up for students to study then the salary band that they start paying it back should alter alongside it.

    In contrast CIPR qualifications are great: you get an interst free government career loan (if you’re self funding), and tutors are on hand to answer questions extremely promptly. And this blog here gives a great insight into the PR world. I don’t feel like I’m on my own at all most days! If this mooted idea comes to fruition, then the CIPR will surely gain more students.

    Would there be any chance of people studying with the CIPR without relevent PR experience, because that is the only drawback I can envisage?

  2. Thanks for the support on the CIPR qualifications – I think we will see more interest in professional study if Universities become more expensive. The OU for example, is another excellent route to education and qualifications whilst working. The catch will be if you can’t get work because you don’t have the qualification, so you’ll be forced to incur the debts.

    I understand that the House of Lords is currently debating whether further education colleges will be able to award degrees (at present foundation degrees need to be accredited by Universities if taught in FE colleges). That will further open the market for degrees – which might be good, although again forcing the necessity to have one.

  3. I often wonder if we are heading towards different prerequisites. Will we all be needing to have Masters or PhDs shortly in order to secure a job?

  4. I’m off track here I think. Are you saying it takes folk ’til they are in their forties to get a Ph.D?

  5. That is my tongue in cheek prediction based on the trends – we’d all leave Uni aged 45 and then need to work until we are 90 because of the high level of debt we’d have.

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