Seek UT. Future earnings, student loans and you. Planning for the future; informing decisions now.

About the Data

Helpful abbreviations

  • Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board = THECB
  • Texas Workforce Commission = TWC
  • Unemployment Insurance = UI

Where did the data come from?

We developed seekUT using data obtained through partnerships with the THECB and TWC. We linked UT System student data with the TWC's Unemployment Insurance (UI) wage record data on the earnings of UT degree recipients. Additionally, seekUT incorporates data from the National Student Clearinghouse, the Texas Workforce Commission's Labor Market & Career Information, the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Association of American Medical Colleges.

How are actual, full-year wages calculated for graduates of UT System institutions?

The wage data reflect actual earnings reported to the Texas Workforce Commission for students that graduated with a degree from a UT System institution (academic and health campuses) in academic years 2001-02 through 2011-12. Earnings are based on a calendar year and are inflation adjusted to reflect 2013 dollars. Aggregate median earnings are reported by institution and major.

First-year median earnings include those graduating between 2001-02 through 2011-12 from a UT System campus. For example, first-year earnings data represents a full calendar year's earnings in 2013 for those graduating in 2011-12, a full calendar year's earnings in 2012 for those graduating in 2010-11, and so forth.

Fifth-year median earnings include those graduating between 2001-02 through 2007-08 from a UT System campus. For example, fifth-year median earnings reflect a full calendar year's earnings in 2013 for those that graduated in academic year 2007-08 from a UT System campus and a full calendar year's earnings in 2012 for those graduating in 2006-07, and so forth.

Tenth-year median earnings include those graduating in the 2001-02 and 2002-03 academic years, and their full calendar year's earnings for 2012 and 2013, respectively.

Who are included/excluded in the wage data for UT System institutions?

Only those employed full-time, full-year are included

The goal of seekUT is to focus on those individuals with full-time, full-year employment. The TWC's UI wage data does not indicate the number of hours worked, length, or type of employment, so we included only graduates with earnings found in all four quarters of calendar year to serve as a proxy for full-year employment. Further, an annual wage of $13,195 was established as the minimum wage and served as a proxy for full-time employment. Therefore we excluded graduates with annual earnings of less than the threshold.

Only those employed in the state of Texas (in most cases) are included

The majority of wage data come from the TWC UI wage records. For graduates finding employment outside of Texas, only those working as U.S. government employees with the U.S. Postal Service, Department of Defense military, or the U.S. Office of Personnel Management are included. Wage for any other out-of-state/country employment, as well as self-employment, are not included.

Only those students that graduated from a UT System institution are included

If an individual graduated from a UT System institution between the 2001-02 and 2011-12 academic years, his/her wage has been included (unless they worked less than full-time or for less than a calendar year). Note: One UT System health institution—UT Health Science Center at Tyler—did not begin enrolling students until fall 2012. Therefore, data are not yet available for this campus.

Only for those areas or majors with five or more graduates

If an area of study or major had less than five graduates found working full-time, full-year in Texas, then the wage data is suppressed.

Do the wage data reflect earnings in students' selected fields of study?

Not necessarily. Though industry codes are available in the TWC employment records and provide insight about graduates' employment, there are no occupation-level classifications related to job titles or duties that would allow a definitive determination of whether or not a graduate’s specific job is in a field related to their major.

How is average student loan debt calculated for graduates of UT System institutions?

We calculated the loan debt using the THECB's Financial Aid Database (FADS) data. Average debt estimates only include those graduates who borrowed and is inflation adjusted to reflect 2013 dollars. Further, it only reflects loan amounts incurred while attending UT System institutions; if a student enrolled in a non-UT System institution at any time, that debt would not be included.

For baccalaureate graduates, the average debt is estimated for those that initially enrolled at the institution as first time in college students. Note that undergraduate loan debt figures are not presented for the health institutions because of their low number of undergraduate first-time-in-college students. For master’s level and professional students, the average loan debt was calculated for UT System graduates enrolling at that degree level for the first time. Due to the small student counts at the doctoral level, particularly when looking at doctorate level borrowers, average student loan debt at the doctoral level is not included in seekUT at this time.

PLUS loans—unsubsidized loans for the parents of dependent students—were not included in the average loan amounts as this is a debt taken on by parents. Additionally, we excluded any Texas B-On-Time student loans that were forgiven when a student earned his/her degree in a timely manner.

How is the student loan payment as a percent of monthly salary (i.e. debt-to-income ratio) calculated? What does this mean?

The monthly student loan payment is estimated using the average student loan debt at graduation and the standard repayment plan of paying a fixed amount each month over 10 years (120 payments). Note that interest rates on direct subsidized federal student loans are determined by federal law and have varied over the years.  The interest rate used for this calculation is 3.9%, which was the rate for undergraduate loans first disbursed between July 2013 and June 30, 2014.  For more information on student loans, repayment plans, and current interest rates by loan type, visit:

Student loan payment as a percent of monthly salary (i.e. debt-to-income ratio) is one piece of information that can be used to determine a strategy for financing one's education through student loans. It can be used as a guideline for determining how much a student may be able to afford to borrow, based on expected future earnings. USA Funds has provided "affordability threshold" guidelines of between 6 and 12 percent.

How is the percent of graduates who continued their education determined?

The UT System exchanged data with the National Student Clearinghouse in order to calculate this information. Data presented are for the five more recent cohorts of UT bachelor's degree recipients (those graduating between academic years 2007-08 and 2011-12). For more information visit the National Student Clearinghouse’s StudentTracker.

Where did the areas of interest and majors come from?

Areas of interest and majors come from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP). The 2-digit level CIP aligns with the "broad fields,""area of study," or "area of interest" presented in the reports, while the more specific 6-digit level CIP aligns with the specific majors presented.

Note: The CIP name does not necessarily reflect the institution's name for the specific program.

The National Center for Education Statistics has updated the CIP over time—revisions most recently occurred in 2000 and 2010. We crosswalked from the 2000 to 2010 designations when possible, but there are instances where this was not possible. As a result, there are a few cases in seekUT where you may see similar majors that reflect CIPs from both the 2000 and 2010 CIP taxonomies. This would occur in instances where students in the graduating cohorts earned degrees under the old and new CIP designations and the old and new CIP designations did not exactly align. An example of this would be Rhetoric and Composition (2010 CIP) and Speech and Rhetorical Studies (CIP 2000).

How is the industry graduates are working in determined?

Industry designations come from the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). This is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments.  The 2-digit level NAICS aligns with the "broad industry,"and the more specific 4-digit level aligns with the "specific industry" presented in seekUT.

Data on industry of employment is part of TWC employment record data. Data presented is the current (2013) industry of employment for graduates from the five most recent cohorts (i.e. those receiving their degrees in academic years 2007-08 through 2011-12). We included graduates from those cohorts who are working full-time for the full 2013 year; we excluded graduates who were known to be enrolled in school in 2013.

How is the projected job growth in Texas determined?

Employment and annual job opening projections for 2012-2022 for Texas and its 28 Workforce Development Areas (labeled "Regions" in seekUT on the "Future Jobs in Texas" tab) are based on the Texas Workforce Commission's (TWC) employment projections.

Where is the national earnings data coming from?

The national earnings data displayed on the "Earnings – A National View" tab are based on the May 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Occupational Employment Statistics (released in April 2014).


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