Staying Local: Why College Students Aren’t Hitting the Road After Graduation
More and more North Dakota college students aren’t packing their bags after graduation.
Recent numbers show that many are choosing to live and stay in the state.
Entrepreneurship, a booming economy, and the trademark North Dakota nice are just a few of the reasons college students are sticking around.
Jamie Behymer of Scottsdale, Arizona had very different graduation plans before starting her college career at NDSU.
“I’m just going to move straight back to Arizona, go live my life there like I have, but within the last six to eight months that I’ve been here, I’ve really noticed that I don’t know if I want to leave,” said Jamie.
Still early in her college years she has already decided that she’ll be staying in town after graduation.
She says the close knit community and endless job opportunities are why.
“As a freshman it’s been really cool to see the opportunities I have so close to me, and how they can lead to something bigger in the future, like being a part of a Fortune 500 company,” said Jamie.
Jill Wilkey, NDSU Director of Career Services, says staying in the state has become a trend within the last five years.
“The commitment to friends, the commitment to family, the commitment to being Midwestern can be very important as well, and those things will definitely influence where a graduate wants to live and work,” said Wilkey.
Wilkey says in 2015, more than 75 percent of NDSU graduates who listed North Dakota as their home state, and stated that they are employed, found work in the state.
Wilkey says North Dakota wages are also a major contributor that’s keeping young professional in the area
She says in 2014 the national average starting salary for college graduates was around $45,000, which was consistent with 2014 graduates at NDSU.
“There is definitely another factor involved, and that is that wages are keeping pace with national trends,” said Wilkey.
Statistics in 2015 also show that 34 percent of NDSU graduates who listed Minnesota as their home state found employment in North Dakota.