Kansas Tool Shows Wage Outcomes of Four Year Degree Programs
Earlier this week, the Kansas Board of Regents released Kansas DegreeStats, an online tool which can help students evaluate the economic feasibility of degree programs within the state’s four-year public institutions. DegreeStats contains side-by-side evaluations of the costs of various programs, possible sources of funding, expected earnings after graduation, and information about potential loan repayments.
Data about costs includes not just tuition, but other associated fees like room and board. The tool also shows how much past students were able to secure in outside funding (scholarships, grants, and loans), and how much they were required to invest personally. Additionally, the tool uses data from the Kansas Department of Labor to show how many graduates are employed in Kansas, as well as their median earnings upon entry into the labor market and after five years. Finally, the tool helps students understand their potential financial obligations by outlining hypothetical monthly loan repayments.
DegreeStats provides data about nearly 600 undergraduate degree programs, and will add data about community and technical colleges by 2017. Currently, employment and earnings data for graduates of the state's community colleges can be found in the Kansas Information Training Program report.
To ensure that DegreeStats is seen by students, Kansas colleges will be required to link to it on their homepages, and discuss it in written and online information about their degree programs, said Kansas Board of Regents spokeswoman Breeze Richardson.
DegreeStats was built in response to Senate Bill 193, which is still pending in the Kansas Legislature. If passed, the bill will require the Board of Regents to publish "degree prospectus information" about undergraduate degree programs. Each prospectus would include a description of the program, the average number of years needed to obtain the degree, the expected costs of the degree, and median wage information of recent graduates.
To learn more about Kansas data efforts, please visit the Kansas state page.
A key tenant of WDQC’s policy agenda is to assess employment outcomes for all education and training programs. Other states with similar outcome tools include Maine, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Minnesota.