Iowa Student Loan's free online tool, Grad Degree Gauge, helps students make informed decisions about their borrowing levels and their ability to successfully repay new student loan debt when considering the pursuit of an advanced degree.
Users are encouraged to consider their current and potential annual salaries with and without the new graduate degree; previous and future borrowing to pay for their education; and opportunities in a career associated with the intended graduate degree.
The results are displayed as a number on a 0–100 gauge. The overall result is a composite of four indicators:
- Current student loan debt in addition to maximum advisable new student loan debt
- Anticipated salary change from the amount expected to be earned by holders of the previous degree, or the user's actual salary if the user is currently in the workforce, to the amount expected to be earned by holders of the intended graduate degree
- Number of new jobs in the indicated career by 2024 as projected by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Percentage of people working in the indicated career who have a graduate degree as indicated by the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics