EdPays - Education Pays for Virginia

Data Caveats

Data were matched on graduates of Virginia institutions against Unemployment Insurance Wage records, as part of the Virginia Longitudinal Data System.

The most important limit to understand is that these short-term measures of outcomes are not meaningful for evaluating the effectiveness of institutions or programs. These are not measures of employment rates, nor they comparable to the so-called Gainful Employment metrics produced by the US Department of Education. These measure are meant to inform readers of the outcomes of graduates in the near-term following degree completion and represent individual behavior and local economies more than any other factor.

In order to protect confidentiality and to accommodate both the many small programs in the Commonwealth and the limits of the available data, these reports will display program-level data only under the following conditions:

1. Single-year data will not be reported at the level of institution, degree, and program, only rolling five-year aggregates. For example, graduates of 2005-06 will be reported with those of 2004-05, 2003-04, 2002-03, and 2001-02.

2. The number of wage-reported graduates must be equal to or greater than 15 with full-time wage equivalent (FTWE) reported wages.

3. At least 30% of the cohort of graduates must have been matched and reported with full-time wage equivalent (FTWE)reported wages, or 20% with a minimum of 200 graduates.

4. The current definition of FTWE is three quarters of wages must be reported for each year.

5. Wages and earnings are not adjusted for inflation.


The wage data included in these reports represent only the following individuals:
1. Graduates successfully matched to the Unemployment Insurance Wage records collected by the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC). 
2. Graduates employed in Virginia by an entity that reports to the VEC. This excludes federal employees, including those within the Department of Defense.

What employers are subject to the Unemployment Tax and must be registered and file with the Virginia Employment Commission? They must have met one of the following criteria:

  • One or more employees (ten employees if your operation is agricultural) for some portion of a day during any 20 different weeks in a calendar year
  • A $1,500 or more total gross quarterly payroll ($20,000 if your business is agricultural; $1,000 if domestic labor)
  • Acquired a business subject to this tax
  • Been subject to the Federal Unemployment Tax
  • A governmental operation or political subdivision
  • A nonprofit organization under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and had four or more employees for some portion of a day during any 20 different weeks in a calendar year



These criteria mean that individuals working as consultants, independent contractors (including many psychologists, counselors, barbers, cosmetologists, IT workers, and P-14 wage employees of the Commonwealth) may be excluded, as are a list of others that may be found here.