Menu Menu

Rishi Sunak wants to scrap your ‘low-value’ university degree

If the Conservatives win the UK’s July election, Rishi Sunak has vowed to scrap ‘rip-off’ university degrees in favour of skilled apprenticeships. Creative and cultural studies will likely be the hardest hit.

The UK’s prime minister Rishi Sunak is worried that our university degrees aren’t preparing us well enough to engage in late-stage capitalism.

As a result, he’s announced his plan to cut ‘low-value’ degrees and replace them with 100,000 high-skilled apprenticeships – if he wins the election, that is.

To do so, the Conservatives will grant greater legal powers to the Office for Students, the organisation which regulates universities across the UK, enabling it to axe courses that are ‘underperforming’.

How will the performance and value of university courses be measured? By assessing their dropout rates, career progression, and future earnings potential, of course.

On this basis, many predict that degrees that teach about arts and culture will be the first to go. Looking at the statistics for these degrees, they may well be correct.


Creative art graduates – including those pursuing subjects such as fine art, drama, music, and design – face above-average unemployment rates, have a low earning potential, and are the least likely to pay back their student loans in full.

This means each art graduate potentially costs taxpayers 30 percent more than a student undergoing an engineering degree – which is bad news for the government.

This isn’t the first time Rishi Sunak has expressed his disdain for some of the most enjoyable courses taught at universities. In early 2022, Sunak announced plans to disallow students pursuing ‘Mickey Mouse degrees’ from acquiring student loans.

‘University is great and it makes a fantastic option for young people, but it’s not the only option. What we do know is that there are university degrees that are letting young people down,’ he said.

While the statistics speak for themselves, it’s unfair that a government could exert its power to prevent individuals from pursuing studies they feel most passionate about.

Not to mention, not everyone was born to be an accountant, architect, or doctor.


Labour Party representatives have pointed out that apprenticeships have fallen in popularity under Conservative leadership.

Bridget Phillipson, the shadow education secretary, called the announcement ‘laughable’, for this reason.

‘Why on earth should parents and young people believe they’ll create training opportunities now, after 14 years of failing to deliver opportunities for young people and the skills needed to grow our economy?’ she said.

Only time will tell if this unfortunate change will come into effect. Like many, we’ll be eagerly awaiting the election results coming this summer.