Statement on Career Education Program Earnings Data Released by U.S. Department of Education

Washington, D.C.—Today, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released data that detail the typical earnings of career-training program graduates. This is the first data release under the new Gainful Employment regulations, which went into effect last summer. The overall findings show that community colleges are producing the bulk of certificate completers and that graduates of certificate programs are largely working in well-paying fields.

"All students enroll in college with the intention of succeeding," said Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) President and CEO J. Noah Brown. "This new information from the Education Department is a testament to public colleges' dedication to student success over the last few years in spite of limited resources." 

In a statement, U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell said, "The earnings data released today shine a light on how graduates are actually faring when they enter the job market, and will ensure students don't make decisions based on too-good-to-be-true promises." 

ED found that more than half of certificate program completers from public institutions work in a higher-earning field, such as nursing and welding. Furthermore, community colleges produced approximately 75 percent of graduates with certificates. 

Brown highlighted community colleges' ability to provide low-cost, high-return programs that are attuned to businesses' and their communities' needs: "Community colleges are increasingly in touch with workforce needs, and they've proven that they are flexible and responsive to market demands. I hope college leaders will use these data to make strategic decisions that serve the best interests of their students and communities."

A fact sheet about the new data is available here.

Founded in 1972, the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) is the nonprofit educational organization of governing boards, representing more than 6,500 elected and appointed trustees of community, technical, and junior colleges in the United States and beyond.  ACCT's purpose is to strengthen the capacity of community, technical, and junior colleges and to foster the realization of their missions through effective board leadership at local, state, and national levels.  For more information, visit Follow ACCT on Twitter at


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