Investing in Education
Bachelor's Degree Recipients:
Median Monthly Wage after 1 Year: $3,604
Median Monthly Wage after 10 Years: $4,946
Estimated Average Monthly Student Loan Payment (for borrowers): $189
*graduates found working full time for the full year in Texas
Note: The UT Brownsville and UT Pan American campuses closed at the end of AY 2015.
UT Rio Grande Valley began enrolling students in Fall 2015.
Median Earnings After One Year
Median Earnings After Ten Years
Average Student Loan
UT Academic Institutions
Notes: Median U.S. Income, 25 years and over = $31, 318. Median U.S. Income, 25 years and over, high school graduates = $24,405.
The UT Brownsville and UT Pan American campuses closed at the end of AY 2015. UT Rio Grande Valley began enrolling students in Fall 2015.
A UT System Bachelor’s Degree Is a Good Investment
This metric shows the median annual earnings for UT System academic institution bachelor’s degree recipients from 2001-02 through 2011-12, who are working full-time in Texas, one year after they graduate and ten years after they graduate. For UT System academic institutions overall, the median annual earnings one year after completing a bachelor’s degree is more than $43,200 ($3,604 monthly) and ten years after completion is approximately $59,400 ($4,946 monthly). This is compared to the median U.S. annual income of $31,300 for someone 25 or older in 2013. For those with just a high school diploma, the U.S. median is $24,400.
Unlike a car that depreciates in value the minute you drive it off the lot, a college education is an investment that continues to payoff—with increased earnings not only in the initial year after completion, but for a graduate's lifetime.
Further, well over half of UT System undergraduates take out loans to help finance their postsecondary education. Earnings greatly impact not only the borrowers’ ability to repay their student loans, but how burdensome those loan payments may be. Average cumulative loan debt for a bachelor’s degree from a UT academic institution is $20,400, though several UT institutions are significantly below this amount. When considered on a monthly basis, median pre-tax earnings one year after graduation are approximately $3,600 compared to an average loan payment of $189 (with a standard 10-year repayment plan). This equates to a debt-to-income ratio of 5.3% one year after graduation, which is well below ratios that are considered even moderately risky (9%) and even slightly below the 6% threshold that is considered cautious.
Taking out student loans can seem overwhelming for many students, but when the average student loan debt for UT System bachelor’s degree recipients is considered in the context of estimated earnings annually (or monthly), debt figures gain meaning, are easier to understand, and clearly show the value of a degree.
About the Data
This metric is based on undergraduate students who earned a bachelor’s degree from a UT System academic institution in academic years 2001-02 through 2011-12. Earnings data reflect actual earnings for 2003 through 2013 reported to the Texas Workforce Commission. Earnings are based on a calendar year and are inflation adjusted to reflect 2013 dollars. Only those employed full-time and for a full-year in the state of Texas are included. More detail on the methodology is available on the seekUT website.
Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Unemployment Insurance wage record data, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board student data.