Students Have a New Tool to Predict Career Earnings
It’s a common dilemma: A college-bound high-school student is faced with choosing a college major, but has a passion for two or more fields. But how can they reasonably make a decision without knowing how much they can expect to earn?
It used to be an easy enough question to answer with the help of U.S. government data, but things changed in 2008, when privacy issues prompted officials to ban collecting and reporting student-level information. But education officials understood that students need solid salary data to make smart decisions—it is, after all, a key factor in deciding how much (and where) to spend your education dollars. So the University of Texas System and the U.S. Census Bureau have teamed up to create a new tool aimed at helping students understand what they are likely to earn, from 1 to 10 years out, reports Katherine Mangan in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The tool, called seekUT, allows students at Texas colleges compare majors and salaries, both in Texas and nationally. Even better, they can also see data about how long it typically takes to earn a diploma, and (gulp) how much they’re likely to owe in student debt.
The system keeps data private by encrypting info from the Census Bureau. (No names or social security numbers are used.) Students just type in two potential careers, and the tool spits out the predicted salaries, making comparison easy.
Of course, money isn’t everything when it comes to career and overall happiness, but making smart choices about education spending gives students a huge head start as they begin the world of work.