New Tool Aimed at Students Launches Next Week
The Office of Strategic Initiatives Goes to Washington is not a remake of the 1939 Frank Capra film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington with Jimmy Stewart. There’s no Hollywood make-believe here. This is a true story, and it is happening next week ….and we want to give you a preview.
On January 13, Stephanie Huie (vice chancellor and our fearless leader) and David Troutman are winging their way to Washington D.C. to introduce a new online interactive tool from The University of Texas System. In development for almost a year, seekUT (search + earnings + employment = knowledge) provides data to students to help them make informed decisions about their academic careers. The seekUT website and tool will be officially launched to students and their families on January 16.
Stephanie and David have a busy schedule inside the Beltway. They will be meeting with staff from the Gates Foundation, the House Education and Workforce Committee, the Department of Education, and the White House Domestic Policy Council. Dr. Huie will also be meeting with leaders of several higher education interest groups including the National Association of System Heads, the American Council on Education, and the Association of Public Land-grant Universities.
To give you a little history, the tool evolved from recommendations by the Student Debt Reduction Task Force, the brainchild of Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, which recognized that the cost of earning a bachelor’s degree is only rising. seekUT was developed to help ease the burden of student debt by providing data that will assist students in matching their financial investment to the financial returns they can expect from their chosen degree.
The seekUT tool taps valuable data obtained through partnerships with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Workforce Commission, as well as the National Student Clearinghouse and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections program.
The data will show, by major, program descriptions; median first- and fifth-year wages of actual U.T. graduates working in Texas; average student loan debt; degree requirements; and the percentage of students who continued their education after earning their degree.
But that’s not all. In addition, there is a great deal of data on earnings and job demand projections for 2020, by occupation, for Texas, Texas regions, other states, and national medians.
What makes the seekUT tool forward-thinking and unique is the fact it combines all of this data into a single tool and makes it available to students.
This is only the beginning for the seekUT website and tool. In the near future, additional portals relevant to high school counselors, university administrators, and researchers will be made available. Additional functionality, data, and views of the data will be added, including data for graduate and professional students.
Now that you know more about the seekUT tool, how many of you out there wish you had had this kind of information available when you were selecting your degree and career path? Whether a student chooses to enter a STEM field, or seek out a liberal arts and humanities education, applying this valuable information and data to their specific paths will only help them make better-informed decisions to acquire a quality education.