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The official blog of @SCHEVResearch at the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Discussions about our work, national higher education data policy, and highlights about the data we publish.

 

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Is Texas a model for Virginia?

by Tod Massa 20. July 2013 12:50

There is a lot happening in the higher ed data space these days. We will soon be releasing Graduate Debt by Program as a companion piece to the Post-Completion Wages of Graduates. As I have mentioned previously, at some point, probably when we update the Wage Reports, we will offer some kind of blended view of the data. After all, as I understand things, this was the ultimate intent of the patron of HB639 requiring SCHEV to publish these data.

The question is this: What should these blended data look like?

Texas has created such a tool for its public institutions  using UI wage data and loan data and for-profit institutions using the Gainful Employment data. It can be found here.

This image provides a sample of the output. I selected a Chemistry degree, Lamar University, Sam Houston University, and Texas Tech University.

 

Quite honestly, I don't like this tool, nor do I think it is appropriate for Virginia. Maybe it is the researcher in me, since I have no idea what year(s) of data I am looking at, nor do I know if the loan debt represents all graduates in the program, or just those whose wages are reported. There may not be a significant difference either way, but I simply don't know that. 

On the other hand, it may be the responsible steward of data policy in me, as this just seems to easy, to slick and expects little of the user's involvement to understand the data.

My specific concerns:

1) No clarity as to the year(s) the data represents.

2) the data pool itself - does this represent all borrowers and all graduates with wages, or just those in both pools?

3) Is the employment rate a "true" rate of employment or is it only those employed in jobs covered y unemployment insurance?

4) Limiting the comparison to the first-year annual income.

5) The lack of any kind of trend information.

6) Lack of information on graduates pursuing further education.

7) The fact that a program at a public institution only had to have three graduates to be in the report.

I think these are significant short-comings. I promise you we will do better. 

The next question is: What would you like to see?

 

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Categories: General, Reports

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