Recent graduates of the HKU Space Community College are earning nearly 5 per cent more than those who left school a year earlier, despite the financial crisis, the college says. In a poll conducted from last September to December, HKU Space - also known as the HKU School of Professional and Continuing Education - surveyed 2,165 of the 2,373 graduates from the 2007-08 academic year. The average salary of the 745 graduates who entered the job market was HK$9,313, the study showed. That is 4.6 per cent higher than the HK$8,900 earned by those who graduated a year earlier. More than a third of them entered the community, social and medical sectors, while a quarter got jobs in finance, insurance or commerce. But most graduates chose to pursue higher education, the college's director, Lee Chack-fan, said. Slightly more than 1,600 graduates were admitted to degree courses last year, he said. Founded in 2000, HKU Space Community College offers sub-degree education for Form Five and Form Seven graduates. It also provides higher-diploma programmes. Professor Lee said more than 70 per cent of the college's associate degree graduates went on to further studies, compared with more than 50 per cent of those who finished higher-diploma programmes. Nearly 7,300 graduates had entered degree programmes since 2000, the college said. More than half of them entered government-subsidised degree courses, including 1,505 accepted by the University of Hong Kong. The college said yesterday that it would launch four new sub-degree programmes - in Chinese medicine, public administration, sociology and creativity research - in the 2009-10 academic year. It will start recruiting students at the end of this month.