Okla. State Regents Find Majority of State's College Students Choose Regional Schools

Article excerpt

The majority of Oklahoma's college students are choosing to remain in state to work following graduation, according to a new report from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

However, the report found, many students with degrees in technical fields such as engineering and computer science are leaving Oklahoma, according to the latest Employment Outcomes Report.

Producing more college graduates and keeping them here is extremely critical if our state is to move forward in this knowledge- based economy, Chancellor Paul G. Risser said.

Only 20 percent of Oklahoma's population 25 years of age and older possess at least a bachelor's degree.

There is no doubt in my mind that the companies coveted by every state in the nation would certainly give Oklahoma a second look if we have a well-educated work force to offer them, he said. The high- paying jobs that these companies would bring or help create are what our state truly needs.

The report, which culminated from research conducted by the State Regents, in collaboration with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission and the Oklahoma Tax Commission, showed that nearly 60 percent of all bachelor's degree recipients from 1997-1998 were employed in Oklahoma five years later. In addition, almost 80 percent of all 2001-2002 bachelor's degree recipients were employed in Oklahoma one year later.

For graduates who were Oklahoma residents when they started college, the percentage of those employed in the state was even higher at 86 percent after one year and 67 percent after five years. …