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UT System grads earned nearly $150K more than nongraduates over 10 years

AUSTIN—University of Texas System graduates earned $147,910 more in salary over 10 years than students who enrolled at a UT System academic institution but did not graduate.

That amount represents the difference in the cumulative total of 10 years of earnings (2003 to 2013) between graduates with a bachelor’s degree and students who attended a UT System academic campus but did not complete their degree, according to data from the UT System’s Office of Strategic Initiatives.

Their findings show that UT System grads earn, on average, 45 percent more their first year out of college than students who left without completing their degree. Ten years later, graduates earn $73,000 on average, compared to $55,000 for non-completers.

UT System Salary Data
UT System Salary Data
The study included data from over 325,000 students from The University of Texas at Arlington, The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas at Brownsville, The University of Texas at Dallas, The University of Texas at El Paso, The University of Texas-Pan American, The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, The University of Texas at San Antonio and The University of Texas at Tyler.      

UT Systems’ Office of Strategic Initiative researchers compiled the salary information based on the unemployment insurance wage records from the Texas Workforce Commission. The data analyzed include only those students found working in Texas, as well as those working as U.S. government employees in the U.S. Postal Service, Department of Defense and U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

“By matching Texas Workforce Commission salary data with academic achievement records at UT System campuses, the study accurately illustrates the tremendous salary advantages that graduates enjoy over those who don’t complete their degrees,” said Bruce Kellison, Ph.D., an economist and associate director of UT Austin’s Bureau of Business Research. “The analysis clearly shows the value of starting one’s career with a college degree. The practical knowledge and thinking skills students learn in college provide graduates with the flexibility to adapt to the changing demands of a complex and global work environment.”

Stephanie Bond Huie, Ph.D., vice chancellor for UT System’s Office of Strategic Initiatives, said salary data make a strong argument for why it’s necessary for UT System college students to become college graduates.

The Office of Strategic Initiatives presents additional salary data and other key measures of the UT System’s performance on its enhanced Dashboard, which provides access to data on topics such as affordability, student success, post-graduation earnings, research, health care and state economic impact.

The salary data is the first to be presented in a series of UT System briefs called Education Impact. Future briefs in the series will examine trends related to major, industry of employment, and demographic characteristics.

Background Materials

UT System Dashboard at

Policy Brief – Education Impact #1: The Value of Completing a Degree

Salary Data infographic link:

About The University of Texas System

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking basic, applied and clinical 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 14 institutions and an enrollment of more than 217,000, the UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates almost two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public institutions in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $16.9 billion (FY 2016) including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With about 20,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates – and more than 70,000 health care professionals, researchers, student advisors and support staff, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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