From Student to Resident: Findings from Campus Philly’s 2010 Student Retention Survey

Posted by on January 30, 2011



This report is built on the shoulders of two earlier studies that set a course in Greater Philadelphia for leveraging our regional higher education assets. In 2000, the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia produced Greater Philadelphia’s Knowledge Industry: Leveraging the Region’s Colleges and Universities in the New Economy. That report pointed out that a shining asset of the region – our colleges and universities – were disconnected from the region’s economic and demographic statistics. The report goes on to say: “Despite the number of students graduating from the region’s colleges and universities, the region is aging and its educational attainment levels are surprisingly low…The question lingers: With its base of educational assets, why has the region underperformed the leaders in these crucial measures of economic competitiveness?”

A second report, conducted by the Knowledge Industry Partnership (KIP) – a coalition of organizations
created by the initial Economy League report – provided reasons to believe that our region was making
progress. The report concluded that 64% of our regional college graduates stayed in the region after
graduation, and, that Philadelphia did especially well in keeping native Philadelphians going to school
here, retaining 86% of those graduates. Where Philadelphia was lagging was in its retention of non-native
Philadelphians, only 29% of whom stayed after graduating from college. The report’s conclusion:
“Until Philadelphia is able to retain more non-native graduates, it will continue to suffer a net loss
of knowledge workers.”

Six years later, Campus Philly, the grandchild of the Economy League’s 2000 report, and the child of the
Knowledge Industry Partnership, has new findings on how Greater Philadelphia fares in its retention of
college students. The findings are positive, showing that now 48% of non-native Philadelphia college
graduates choose to stay in the region, up from 29% in 2004.

As the results of our survey show, however, we can’t say “mission accomplished.” While 83% of
our students would recommend Philadelphia as a place to go to school, fewer (55%) would recommend
it as a place to live. The study shows gaps between what students and graduates value most, and their perceptions of what the region has to offer. And, while paid internships are promising pathways to
retention, the vast majority of students do not have that experience while in school. As you read the results from the study, we invite you to join us in strengthening the ties between our college and university communities and our civic, corporate, cultural and entrepreneurial communities. Campus Philly serves as a vehicle for Philadelphia to meet its students and for our students to meet their Philadelphia. We hope it’s an introduction that leads to a long, happy and prosperous relationship.

Read the rest of the report at:

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