Migration of College Graduates

Economic Trends, January 2004 | Go to article overview

Migration of College Graduates


The U.S. Department of Education conducts a Baccalaureate and Beyond survey that tracks the location, employment, and family patterns of college graduates. So far, this longitudinal study has looked at students who obtained their degrees in 1993 and those who obtained their degrees in 2000. The first study surveyed students in April 1993, when they graduated, and again in April 1994 and April 1997. The 2000 class was surveyed in April 2000 and April 2001 and will be surveyed again in April 2004. The survey provides a unique opportunity to track college graduates as they move from state to state.

Among 1993 graduates, 72.4% were still in the state where their degree-granting college was located one year after graduation (1994), and 66.7% were still in the same state as their degree-granting institution four years after graduation (1997). Retention rates in the Fourth District states of Ohio and Kentucky exceeded the national average in both 1994 and 1997: More than 3/4 of Ohio graduates still lived in the state in 1994, and just over 73% still lived there in 1997. Kentucky's retention rate rose during the survey period: In 1994, 80.9% of Kentucky graduates lived in the state; by 1997, that figure had risen to 83.3%, the highest retention rate of any state for which data were available in the 1997 survey.

Respondents in the survey of 2000 graduates seemed more willing to move, within a year of graduation, from the state in which they attended college: In 2001, 69.2% of 2000 grads nationwide were still in the state where their school was located. Although Ohio's retention rate of 65.1% was below the national mean, it was well within the average range: The middle 25 states had retention rates between 60% and 71%. The Fourth District states of Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia were also among the middle 25, with retention rates of 69.

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