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?

UT System developed seekUT using data obtained through partnerships with the THECB and TWC. UT System student data was linked to the TWC's Unemployment Insurance (UI) wage record data for the post-graduate earnings of UT degree recipients. Additionally, seekUT incorporates data from the National Student Clearinghouse, the Texas Workforce Commission's Labor Market and 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 TWC for students who graduated with a degree from a UT System institution (academic and health campuses) in academic years 2001-02 through 2012-13. Earnings are based on a calendar year and are inflation adjusted to reflect 2014 dollars. Aggregate median earnings are reported by institution and major.

First-year median earnings include those students who graduated from a UT System campus between 2001-02 and 2012-13. For example, first-year earnings data represent a full calendar year's earnings in 2014 for those who graduated in 2012-13, a full calendar year's earnings in 2013 for those who graduated in 2011-12, and so forth.

Fifth-year median earnings are for those students who graduated between 2001-02 and 2008-09 from a UT System campus. For example, fifth-year median earnings reflect a full calendar year's earnings in 2014 for those who graduated in academic year 2008-09 from a UT System campus and a full calendar year's earnings in 2013 for those who graduated in 2007-08, and so forth.

Tenth-year median earnings include those who graduated in the 2001-02, 2002-03, and 2003-04 academic years, and their full calendar year's earnings for 2012, 2013, and 2014, 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 UI wage data does not indicate the number of hours worked, length, or type of employment, so seekUT includes only graduates with earnings found in all four quarters of the 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, seekUT excludes graduates with annual earnings of less than that 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. Wages for any other out-of-state/country employment, as well as self-employment, are not included.

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

If an individual graduated from a UT System institution between the 2001-02 and 2012-13 academic years, his/her wages have 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 has less than five graduates found working full-time, full-year in Texas, then the wage data are 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 median student loan debt calculated for graduates of UT System institutions?

UT System calculated the loan debt using the THECB's Financial Aid Database (FADS) data. Median debt estimates only include those graduates who borrowed, and it is inflation adjusted to reflect 2014 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 median debt is estimated for those who 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 median loan debt was calculated for UT System graduates enrolling in those degree levels for the first time. Due to the small student counts at the doctoral level, particularly when looking at doctorate level borrowers, 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, seekUT excludes 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 median 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. For undergraduates, the interest rate used for this calculation is 4.3%, which was the rate for undergraduate loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2015. For graduate and professional students, the 5.8% rate for graduate or professional direct unsubsidized loans awarded on or after July 1, 2015 was used. 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 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 most recent cohorts of UT bachelor's degree recipients (those who graduated between academic years 2008-09 and 2012-13). 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. CIP codes were crosswalked from the 2000 to 2010 designations when possible, but there are instances in which 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 are for the current (2013) industry of employment for graduates from the five most recent cohorts (i.e., those receiving their degrees in academic years 2008-09 through 2012-13). seekUT includes graduates from those cohorts who were working full-time for the full 2014 year, and excludes graduates who were known to be enrolled in school in 2014.

How is the projected job growth in Texas determined?

Employment and annual job opening projections for 2012 through 2022 for Texas and its 28 Workforce Development Areas are based on the Texas Workforce Commission's (TWC) employment projections.

Where are the national earnings data coming from?

The national and state median earnings by occupation are based on the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Occupational Employment Statistics (released in March 2016).


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