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November 5, 2012 - More College Grads Choosing to Stay in State After Graduation

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

According to the latest Employment Outcomes Report, 89 percent of Oklahoma residents who earned bachelor’s degrees in 2008-09 were employed in Oklahoma one year later. Five years after graduation, 70 percent of 2004-05 bachelor’s degree recipients were employed in Oklahoma.

“Producing more college graduates and keeping them in Oklahoma is critical in providing an educated workforce to grow our state’s economy,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “These results reflect the efforts of our state’s higher education institutions to educate and keep Oklahoma’s best resource – its people – in the state.”

The report also showed that more residents graduating with certificates (79 percent), associate degrees (79 percent) and master’s degrees (75 percent) remained in Oklahoma, while fewer doctoral and professional degree holders (54 and 64 percent, respectively) were found in the state after five years.

One year after graduation, employment rates for resident graduates at other degree levels ranged from 74 to 94 percent: 94 percent of certificate holders, 88 percent of Associate in Arts/Associate in Science, 94 percent of Associate in Applied Science, 89 percent of master’s, 83 percent of professional and 74 percent of doctoral degree holders remained in Oklahoma.

According to the report, although the majority of graduates remain in Oklahoma, the “out” migration is evident in technical fields of study such as engineering, computer science, physical sciences, mathematics and architecture based upon employment rates after five years.

The report also showed that Oklahoma graduates who received bachelor’s degrees in 2004-05 were earning an average annual salary of $40,654 five years later. Salaries for graduates who earned master’s, doctoral and professional degrees averaged from 29 to 137 percent higher than those with only bachelor’s degrees. Those with a certificate or Associate in Arts or Associate in Science degree earned 45 percent and 33 percent less than bachelor’s degree recipients. However, graduates with Associate in Applied Science degrees earned salaries that were on par with those holding a bachelor’s degree.

In addition, the report indicated that Oklahoma graduates with mathematics, computer science and other technical degrees consistently earned the highest average salaries. However, graduates employed in health professions, business management and education also command strong salaries on average.

The entireEmployment Outcomes Report is available on the State Regents’ website at under “Studies, Reports and Data.”