NAICU Washington Update

Education Department Publishes Program-Level Earnings Data

November 25, 2019

As expected, the U.S. Department of Education has published first-year, post-completion program-level (i.e. academic major) earnings information on the College Scorecard. This is the first time that program-level earnings information by institution has been published by the federal government.
Program-level debt information has been available via the Scorecard since May 2019, and institutions were given until July 2019 to update their student files. President Trump instructed the Department to release program-level data in an Executive Order published in March 2019.
Although only the top 10 majors by number of completers are displayed on the Scorecard, there is a link to provide information for all majors for which information is reportable. There are also click options to sort the “Fields of Study” tab by Highest Earnings and Lowest Debt. It appears that earnings are published for certificate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs which meet the reporting thresholds.
Included with the release of the program-level earnings data is a Technical Documentation for Data Files by Field of Study document which further explains the methodology behind the data release. Key points about the data being presented via the Scorecard include:
  • The Scorecard currently only displays first-year earnings post-completion by field of study (non-completers are not included in the data); the Department hopes to eventually provide earnings data for up to 10 years post-completion.
  • Only those students who received federal financial aid in the form of Title IV grants and loans have earnings or debt information included in the Scorecard data; federally unaided students are not counted.
  • Only major/programs with 10 or more completers are included in the dataset; if the major or program has fewer than 10 completers then the data is not reported.
  • The data reflects the cohort of students who received federal financial aid at any time in their academic careers (regardless of where aid was received) and graduated in award years 2014-15 and 2015-16 with earnings measured in calendar years 2016 and 2017, respectively.
  • Program-level earnings are calculated using a 4-digit Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) classification system.

MORE News from NAICU