About the Data

Where does the data come from?

UT System uses data obtained through partnerships with U.S. Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) program, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), and the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). UT System student data is linked to the Unemployment Insurance (UI) earnings record data for the post-graduate earnings of UT degree recipients. Additionally, seekUT incorporates data from the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), the Texas Workforce Commission's Labor Market and Career Information (LMCI) program, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

The collaboration between the U.S. Census Bureau’s LEHD and UT System allows seekUT to provide valuable information to students to assist them on their career pathways.

What do the abbreviations stand for?

  • Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
  • Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP)
  • Financial Aid Database (FADS)
  • Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD)
  • National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
  • National Student Clearinghouse (NSC)
  • North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
  • Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB)
  • Texas Workforce Commission (TWC)
  • Texas Workforce Commission's Labor Market and Career Information (LMCI)
  • Unemployment Insurance (UI)

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

The earnings data reflect actual earnings reported to the LEHD and TWC for students who graduated with a degree from a UT System institution (academic and health campuses) in academic years 2001‑02 through 2015-16. Earnings are based on a calendar year and are inflation adjusted to reflect 2017 dollars. Aggregate median earnings are reported by institution and major.

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

The goal of seekUT is to focus on those individuals with full-time, full-year employment. The UI earnings data does not indicate the number of hours worked, length, or type of employment. Annual earnings of $13,195 are established as the minimum earnings and serve as a proxy for full-time employment. Therefore, seekUT excludes graduates with annual earnings of less than that threshold. Individuals who are self-employed are excluded from seekUT.

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 2015-16 academic years, his/her earnings 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.  Missing data in a table or chart is due to insufficient data.

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

Not necessarily. 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 THECB's Financial Aid Database (FADS) data. Median debt estimates only include those graduates who borrowed, and it is inflation-adjusted to reflect 2017 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: 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 doctoral-level borrowers, student loan debt is not included for the doctoral level 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). The interest rate for federal loans was based on the interest rate of the year, loan program, and student level during the year the loan was disbursed. The interest rate for other types of loans was based on the average of interest rates for federal loans at different student levels and the year in which the loan was disbursed. 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 can afford to borrow, based on expected future earnings. 

How is the percent of graduates who continue 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 2011-12 and 2015-16). 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 (NCES) 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 are the industries in which graduates are working 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 (2017) industry of employment for graduates from the five most recent cohorts (i.e., those receiving their degrees in academic years 2011-12 through 2015-16). seekUT includes graduates from those cohorts who were working full time for the full 2017 year and excludes graduates who were known to be enrolled in school in 2017.

How is the projected job growth in Texas determined?

Employment and annual job opening projections for 2016 through 2026 for Texas and its 28 Workforce Development Areas are based on the Texas Workforce Commission's (TWC) employment projections.