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Measured and quantified

Students attending a lecture
What effect will higher education top-up fees have on the economy?

BBC Radio 4's More or Less was broadcast on Thursday, 8 January, 2004, at 1500 GMT.

More or Less tries to put a figure on the value of a university education in the UK.

The government is proposing to introduce top-up fees of up to £3,000 a year for university students.

Education Secretary, Charles Clarke, has said that the increased fees are necessary because British universities are currently under-funded and that the taxpayer should not have to make up the shortfall.

Higher education expansion

Part of his justification for making students pay is that, on average, they earn £400,000 more than non-graduates over their lifetime.

But how much of that additional income can be attributed to their degree? And as graduates become more numerous is there a danger that their value will fall?

Andrew Dilnot talks to Professor Richard Blundell about the costs and benefits to the individual, and to the economy as a whole, of higher education expansion.

Number crunching

Britney Spears and Prince Charles were the most frequent search terms on the web, according to Google, the internet search engine.

But More or Less, untroubled by low-brow gossip about mere words, has a more important question. Which numbers appear most on the web?

We interviewed one of the authors of The Secret Life of Numbers, Golan Levin, to find the answers.

Plus, Innes Bowen asks if British doctors are miscalculating the due dates of pregnant women.

Producer: Michael Blastland
Editor: Nicola Meyrick

Counting down to the birth
08 Jan 04 |  More Or Less

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