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UT System first in nation to provide salary, debt and jobs data to help students plan their future
AUSTIN – Aspiring professionals attending a UT institution no longer have to guess what their future earnings potential will be, thanks to a groundbreaking online tool developed by The University of Texas System.
UT System launched seekUT+grad, a new version of seekUT that now provides data on salaries and debt of alumni who earned graduate and professional degrees. seekUT is the first site targeted to students that offers salary, debt and jobs data all in one place.
In January, UT became the first system of higher education in the nation to offer salary and debt statistics of undergraduate students one year and five years after graduation. Now, the new version of seekUT includes salaries of students up to 10 years after they complete undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees.
“With seekUT we have created a first-of-its-kind tool that offers students and their families information that will help them make the best decisions regarding all stages of their higher education,” said UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D. “This data provides new measures of accountability and transparency, demonstrating that investment in higher education – by the students and by the state – yields tremendous benefits to the individual and the larger economy.”
seekUT combines salary information with average student debt by major, providing users with a realistic debt-to-income ratio. This ratio, presented alongside monthly income and student loan payment, allows young adults to make informed decisions about their education and plan for their financial future. Additionally, seekUT provides this ratio based not just on the first-year salaries, but on what that ratio will look like five and 10 years down the road.
The tool goes even further, offering a look at industries where graduates are employed by level and major. seekUT also includes job projections through 2022 by occupation for Texas and other states and compares them to the national average.
“Whether you are a high school student just beginning your journey, planning your graduate education, or considering law school, there is data in seekUT that can inform your choices,” said Stephanie Bond Huie, UT System’s vice chancellor for strategic initiatives. “Students are faced with many questions: Are they taking on too much debt considering potential earnings? Could they afford to take on more debt if it means they could graduate sooner? Should they go to graduate school? seekUT can’t predict their future, but the data can provide valuable insight into how these questions have been answered by other graduates before them.
“For example, a medical student can study the trajectory of his or her anticipated earnings through internship, residency and beyond. Understanding potential earnings, not just one or five years after graduation, but a full decade later, provides important perspective when a student is considering taking on debt,” Huie said.
The seekUT tool and website evolved from recommendations from the Student Debt Reduction Task Force, an offshoot of Cigarroa’s Framework for Advancing Excellence. The tool was developed for and with the input of students. Data is available by major for each UT System institution and is easily accessible via desktop, tablet and mobile device. It comprises data of actual graduates culled from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Texas Workforce Commission, National Student Clearinghouse and the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“One of the most fantastic aspects about the seekUT tool is that it reports student loan debt by major. I was able to discover what the average student loan debt might be for a particular major,” said Nancy Fairbank, a political science major at UT Dallas. “I’m definitely going to be sharing seekUT with other students.”
Fairbank said seekUT gives students an important perspective – a perspective that their parents want them to consider when making lifelong decisions.
“It’s the student making the choice, but students are now looking at the information that parents want them to look at,” Fairbank said. “To provide that in a format that is so easily accessible and so geared to my generation’s modern, digital way of thinking gives students a huge advantage.”
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 an 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 $15.6 billion (FY 2015) including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With about 90,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.