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Thursday, January 16, 2014

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University of Texas System first in nation to provide salary and student debt data

“seekUT” online resource will help prospective UT students make informed decisions

AUSTIN – The University of Texas is the first system of higher education in the nation to launch an interactive website that provides salary and debt statistics of actual students one year and five years after graduation.

The seekUT website evolved from recommendations of the Student Debt Reduction Task Force, which was created by UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa to explore potential solutions to the issue of growing student debt.

“Students across the United States have taken on unprecedented levels of college loan debt, creating a trend that’s neither desirable nor sustainable,” Cigarroa said. “At The University of Texas System, we are working on several paths to help reduce the debt load for our students, and we believe the accurate and timely information provided at seekUT will help students make informed decisions about their future.”

Using seekUT, current and prospective students can access data for UT graduates from 2007 to 2011 who were working full time in Texas one year and five years after receiving their bachelor’s degree. Remarkably, 79 percent of the students during this time period who received a bachelor’s degree from one of UT System’s 15 institutions were found working in Texas their first year out of college.

seekUT can be accessed from an iPad and other tablet devices through an app available on the seekUT website. To search the salary and debt statistics, students select an academic major and the category of UT institution (research, emerging research or comprehensive). Students can then view:

  • Median earnings for graduates one and five years after receiving a degree
  • Average student loan debt
  • Percent of graduates who elect to continue their education
  • Number of semester credit hours required to earn a bachelor’s degree

In addition, labor market projections are available by occupation in Texas (by region) and throughout the nation.

“We’re all familiar with surveys that make statements about the top-earning majors the first year out of college, but those surveys are often based on small samples and depend on accurate reporting of the person responding to the survey,” says Stephanie Huie, Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives. “The earnings data from seekUT is based on actual salary data and, more importantly, provides students a five-year salary trajectory.”

seekUT was developed using data obtained through partnerships with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Workforce Commission. Additionally, the website incorporates data from the National Student Clearinghouse and the Employment Projections program at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“seekUT provides information that empowers students to make informed decisions,” Huie said. “Decisions should not be made in a vacuum. It is the combination of all the pieces of information that is powerful – the earnings trajectory after five years, student debt, and information on additional education, all by major, alongside labor market projections by occupation – all contribute to a more complete picture.”

U.S. Rep. Ruben Hinojosa praised the interactive website and the information it provides to students and families.

"The UT System is providing valuable information to students and their families, unlike anything currently available. College access and affordability is an issue that I am passionate about and I am excited that this information will literally be at the fingertips of high school and college students," said U.S. Rep. Ruben Hinojosa. "I commend Chancellor Cigarroa for the innovative advancements that will assist so many students. I am very pleased that through my encouragement, this system will also be able to collect data that will reflect the progress of women and minorities because I believe they are the future leaders of Texas."

www.utsystem.edu/seekut 

About The University of Texas System
Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities, six health institutions and a fall 2013 enrollment of more than 213,000. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public universities in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $14.6 billion (FY 2014) including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With more than 87,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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