Intrinsic versus instrumental benefits of higher education: The challenge from self-funded higher education

UK policy concern about the value and funding of Higher Education has focussed on the intrinsic and instrumental impacts of education. Typically, returns to education are identified by narrow economic metrics, like earnings. However, policy makers recognize the need for wider measures of welfare. Consequently, contemporaneous relationships with subjective well-being (SWB) have been explored. In this paper the effects of higher education on SWB are mapped through time. The results show positive effects in the first year at university that dissipate afterwards. Intrinsic benefits from education remain but get eroded implying increased stress from loan financed education with transition to a more instrumental perspective on education.