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Given that traditional revenue streams in higher education are declining across the country, and the cost of getting an education is increasing, it is critical for students, along with their families, to make informed decisions about their academic careers. The UT System has developed this website and complementary online tool to provide valuable data about employment earnings for the first 10 years after graduation, as well as student loan debt, for graduates by degree major.
Even as the cost of earning a degree is rising, having a college degree has become a minimum requirement for even entry-level jobs in many fields. To finance an education, students and their families must find the right balance among available grants, scholarship aid, family financial contributions, and student loans. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid, in FY16 more than 42 million student loan borrowers owed in excess of $1 trillion in student loan debt. And, while debt itself is not inherently bad, uninformed borrowing decisions can lead to burdensome debt loads.
The UT System Student Debt Reduction Task Force was created to help students make informed financial decisions. The Task Force studied the factors contributing to student debt and offered recommendations for easing the burden on students and their parents. The group’s final report proposed helping students match their financial investment to the financial returns they can expect to realize from their degree.
Following on that recommendation, the UT System entered into an agreement with the Texas Workforce Commission to share data related to occupational outcomes for students graduating from UT institutions. With this data, the UT System developed an online tool that allows students to view information by degree major, including 1-, 5-, and 10-year median earnings, median student loan debt for graduates, as well as descriptions of the degree majors.
This comprehensive online tool will go a long way in helping students and their families plan the future based on a foundation of realistic expectations of potential loan debt compared to post-graduation earnings.
Students, now more than ever, have various career and degree options from which to choose. Whatever path they choose, students will have an easier time making the right decisions if they have access to valuable information.
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