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Money or fun? Why students want to pursue further education

Chris Belfield, Teodora Boneva, Christopher Rauh and Jonathan Shaw
IFS Working Paper W16/13

We study students’ motives for educational attainment in a unique survey of 885 secondary school students in the UK. As expected, students who perceive the monetary returns to education to be higher are more likely to intend to continue in full-time education. However, the main driver is the perceived consumption value, which alone explains around half of the variation of the intention to pursue higher education. Moreover, the perceived consumption value can account for a substantial part of both the socio-economic gap and the gender gap in intentions to continue in full-time education.