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Intentions After Graduation Survey

The survey asked final-year, first-degree students at English higher education institutions in 2013 [Note 1] what they were planning to do after university, and in particular whether they intended to progress to postgraduate education.

HEFCE compared these intentions with the information collected from the same students in the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey. This showed that, while 17 per cent of all graduates intended to pursue a postgraduate qualification, only half of them actually did so within six months of graduation. This varies by different student characteristics:

  • A higher proportion of young students from the highest participation areas went on to pursue postgraduate study than students from the lowest participation areas (64 per cent compared with 51 per cent).
  • A higher proportion of young students went on to postgraduate studies than mature students (60 per cent compared with 47 per cent).

The survey asked students who were likely to enter postgraduate study what would affect their decision. For 65 per cent course fees was a factor. Among students who said they were unlikely to study at postgraduate level in the future, 61 per cent said that course fees were one of the factors putting them off. 

HEFCE also examined the intentions of more recent final-year students; those responding to IAGS 2014 [Note 2]. These data illustrate differences in the intention to progress to postgraduate education for some student characteristics:   

  • More black and minority ethnic (BME) students than white students planned to study at postgraduate level six months after graduation (14 per cent compared with 12 per cent)
  • Slightly more young than mature students had the same intention (14 per cent compared with 13 per cent)
  • Students from the lowest and highest participation areas were equally intent on postgraduate study (12 per cent in both the highest and lowest quintiles)
  • More non-disabled than disabled students were intending to make the same move (14 per cent compared with 12 per cent).

Given this clear evidence that finance is a barrier to progression to postgraduate study, HEFCE welcomes the Government’s commitment to provide £10,000 scholarships for 10,000 students studying for masters qualifications in 2015-16 [Note 3], and to develop a postgraduate loan scheme to address both the unmet demand and the finance barriers evidenced in the recent IAGS survey.

Notes

  1. The Intentions After Graduation Survey (IAGS), piloted in 2013, captures information about a student’s plans for what they will do after graduation. The survey is collected from all final-year undergraduate students at UK higher education institutions who responded online to the National Student Survey.
  2. The IAGS is an annual survey in its second year. Future surveys will allow us to see if intentions change between different cohorts – particularly pre- and post-fee reform. Further comparisons with DLHE responses and individual-level data returned in the Higher Education Statistics Agency student records will also enable us to track students to see if their actions reflect their intentions.
  3. The Postgraduate Support Scheme (PSS) will provide £50 million to support £10,000 scholarships for 10,000 masters students.
    The scheme builds on key findings from the pilot PSS in 2014-15, which showed that finance is a key barrier to progression for the most under-represented students.
  4. The data are available on the HEFCE website.