Civic News
Culture / Education / Jobs / Resources

Philly has more growth in young college degree holders than Boston and NYC

And tech and engineering degrees are on the rise, according to Campus Philly's 2019 report.

Drexel University. (Courtesy photo)

Campus Philly, the regional research and retention nonprofit that aims to get Philadelphia’s college students to stay and invest their success here, released its annual report of 2019 statistics, showing that the region is growing stronger in retaining college grads.

In general, the organization’s report found that enrollment in area colleges is on the rise, with city schools Temple University, Drexel University and University of Pennsylvania leading in enrollment numbers. Across 30 area schools, Philly saw about 33,000 more applications between 2015 and 2017, and enrolled about 3,000 (6.7%) more students over those two years.

Philadelphia’s population of young, degree-holding people also continues to grow. People ages 25 to 34 with a bachelor’s degree is up 115% from the year 2000, growing only slightly behind Washington, D.C. compared to other large cities. It also tops nearby East Coast cities such as Boston — known for its research and university-forward culture — and New York — known for its appeal to a creative and business-driven class.

But the statistics also show that as these universities are enrolling more students, more students also seem to be deciding to stay in the city post-grad. Of those who graduated between 2010 and 2014, 54% stayed in the region; of those who graduated in the previous four years, 49% stayed, while 48% of those who graduated from 2000 to 2004.

Those graduates who do stay, Campus Philly found, are often in fields like accounting, nursing, engineering, education, criminal justice and sociology.

The city still faces some challenges with retention, though. At its annual meeting this summer, Campus Philly shared statistics saying the city had trouble keeping those in some in-demand fields like computer science, information technology or finance.

“Maybe we’re still losing some of our best,” said Rafael Ilishayev, one of the Drexel-students-turned-goPuff-cofounder, at the event.

But the report also found that students obtaining degrees in technology or engineering locally have gone up 24% since 2015. STEM degrees and areas like business and marketing are also growing in the area.

Heading into 2020, the organization said it wants to strategize about the city’s reputation, job growth overall and how to handle and market Gen Z, which are starting their first few years of college now.

(Screenshot via Campus Philly)

Companies: Campus Philly

Before you go...

Please consider supporting to keep our independent journalism strong. Unlike most business-focused media outlets, we don’t have a paywall. Instead, we count on your personal and organizational support.

3 ways to support our work:
  • Contribute to the Journalism Fund. Charitable giving ensures our information remains free and accessible for residents to discover workforce programs and entrepreneurship pathways. This includes philanthropic grants and individual tax-deductible donations from readers like you.
  • Use our Preferred Partners. Our directory of vetted providers offers high-quality recommendations for services our readers need, and each referral supports our journalism.
  • Use our services. If you need entrepreneurs and tech leaders to buy your services, are seeking technologists to hire or want more professionals to know about your ecosystem, has the biggest and most engaged audience in the mid-Atlantic. We help companies tell their stories and answer big questions to meet and serve our community.
The journalism fund Preferred partners Our services

Join our growing Slack community

Join 5,000 tech professionals and entrepreneurs in our community Slack today!


Philly startup Burro aims to revolutionize farming with robots

How to encourage more healthcare entrepreneurship (and why that matters)

Wagtail’s Philly event reaches beyond its software, aiming to bring together Python enthusiasts

Find out what type of heat wave you’re really in for with NOAA’s HeatRisk dashboard

Technically Media