Allan Reinikka

Regional law students earn 'hundreds of thousands' less

BUDDING lawyers studying at a regional university could experience "hundreds of thousands" less in their pay packets over their working life compared to their metropolitan counterparts.

A Grattan Institute report, released on Monday, revealed bachelor degree graduates from Australia's sandstone and technology universities earn about 6% more over a 40-year career than graduates of Australia's other universities.

But Grattan Institute's Higher Education Program director Andrew Norton said the Mapping Australian Higher Education report showed that courses taken had a bigger effect on income than university attended.

"When you go to university the biggest decision you will have to make is what course to choose," he said.

"Studying engineering at any university is likely to lead to a higher salary than studying arts at a sandstone university."

Mr Norton said the report revealed people who studied law in regional universities could receive less in their pay packets compared to those who studied law at a sandstone university.

He said the discrepancy had nothing to do with the level of teaching or university standing.

"This will become more extreme in the future given how tough the legal job market is," he said.