A First Look at Gainful Employment Data, by Program and Institution

June 25, 2012

The Department of Education on Tuesday released for the first time gainful-employment data for 3,695 vocational programs at 1,336 institutions. Under new rules that fully take effect next year, these career-training programs must meet at least one of three benchmarks in at least three out of four consecutive years in order to remain eligible for federal student aid. Related Article


About the Data

The loan repayment rate is calculated by dividing the balance of student loans being satisfactorily repaid by the total outstanding balance of student loans. At least 35 percent of former students must be actively repaying their loans.

The debt-to-earnings ratios show the median student loan debt in a program as a percentage of those students' aggregate annual income or annual discretionary income (income above 150 percent of the poverty level). Institutions must keep these ratios at or below 12 percent and 30 percent, respectively, in order to pass in these categories.

Although the data are presented together, the metrics gauge repayment progress and debt burdens based on two different time frames. The repayment ratio takes a look at how borrowers were doing on their loans three and four years after they entered repayment. This set of data includes students whose loans entered repayment between October 1, 2006 and September 30, 2008.

For the debt-to-income ratios, the numbers are based on how much students earned in 2010. The students included in the data completed their program between October 1, 2007 and September 30, 2009.

The data are based on information submitted to the Department of Education by institutions. In the case of students' aggregate income, the department relies on income data comes from the Social Security Administration.