I think it was Einstein that said "Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted".

Good financial planning needs to look at the costs of course, but in weighing up the benefits there are some wider intangibles that need to also be considered.

Talk to any financial adviser and they will tell you that their clients make decisions not only based on the maths but emotional factors play a part. For example, many people approaching retirement want to ensure their mortgage is fully paid off even if they could afford to continue paying it in retirement.

A university education provides further education so raising the education standard of our young people and society and it is also an education in life. Students not only develop further models to research, evaluate and decision make, they also learn how to be part of a society, to make their own way in life, to develop a network of friends and contacts and to look for ways to contribute to the world. 

Many employers still recognise the benefit of a university education with highly valued and developed graduate entrant schemes. Some even recognise the strain that university debt places on graduates and either part-fund the cost of study through sponsorships or awards or some pay off the debt on entry to the workplace. 

Going to university is not for everyone and some careers in particular encourage apprenticeships and direct entry to the workforce.

But when looking at this, as many parents and potential university students will be doing this summer as they wait anxiously for their A-level results, it's not just the costs that need to be considered, the costs need to be weighed against the benefits.