Report: More College Grads Choosing to Stay in State

More Oklahoma residents are staying in the state after college graduation, according to a report released Thursday by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

The upward trend is true for Oklahomans who receive bachelor’s degrees and also for those who seek an advanced education, such as doctoral and professional degrees.

“These results reflect our efforts to combine our thriving economy, cutting-edge science and technology, and academic institutions to keep Oklahoma’s best resource – its people – in the state,” Chancellor Glen D. Johnson said.

According to the latest Employment Outcomes Report, 90 percent of Oklahoma resident graduates who earned bachelor’s degrees in 2004-05 were employed in Oklahoma one year later. About 72 percent of 2000-01 bachelor’s degree recipients were employed in Oklahoma after five years.

These percentages are an increase from previous studies. For resident graduates who earned a bachelor’s degree in 1999-00 or 1998-99, 65 percent were found in state five years after graduation.

For resident graduates who earned doctoral degrees, the percentages of those who stay in Oklahoma have also improved. About 72 percent of 2000-01 doctoral graduates were employed in Oklahoma five years later, compared to 67 percent of 1999-00 graduates and 56 percent of 1998-99 graduates.

Oklahoma residents aren’t the only college graduates who contribute to the state’s economy. The report also shows that many out-of-state students who come to Oklahoma for college stay here after graduation. Of the non-residents who earned bachelor’s degrees at state colleges and universities, 62 percent of 2004-05 graduates stayed in Oklahoma after one year, and 39 percent of 2001-01 graduates were still in Oklahoma five years later.

The report also showed that Oklahoma graduates who received bachelor’s degrees in 2000-01 were earning an average annual salary of $37,747 five years later. That average salary has increased more than $2,100 since last year’s report. Salaries for graduates who earned master’s, doctoral and professional degrees averaged from 29 to 136 percent higher than those with only bachelor’s degrees.

In addition, the report indicated that Oklahoma graduates with computer science, engineering and other technical degrees consistently earned the highest average salaries. Graduates employed in health professions also commanded strong salaries on average.

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