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Why 2 in 3 recent college grads decided to stay: Campus Philly report

Campus Philly's “Choosing Philadelphia” report examines how to get college students to stick around — and what's already working.

Brain drain? Nah.

Sixty-four percent of local college grads decided to stay in Philly after graduation, according to the “Choosing Philadelphia” report released today by Campus Philly.

The survey received nearly 3,400 responses, primarily from students who graduated between 2011 and 2014. (Sixty-one percent of the respondents said they were living in Philly when they completed the survey itself.)

In 2010, when Campus Philly last conducted this survey, 71 percent of students decided to stay in Philly after graduation. Campus Philly chalks this up to the recession, which “likely had a dampening effect on mobility.”

See the report

Why’d they decide to stay? Jobs. Family. A soft spot for Philadelphia.

The report points to two main, influencing factors:

  • Internships in Philly: out of those that did an internship in Philly, 65 percent decided to stay. Out of those that held an internship outside the region, 47 percent decided to stay in Philly. (That’s long been an established data point — Campus Philly organized a tech internship program, funded by the city’s StartUp PHL grants, because of this.)
  • Getting to know the city: out of those that said they became “very familiar” with Philadelphia, 73 percent decided to stay. “Getting students off campus … seems to make a difference,” the report said. (For its part, Campus Philly organizes a number of events geared to get students off campus, including the Start. Stay. Grow. student entrepreneur series in partnership with, full disclosure, Philly.)

Now, the question, it seems, isn’t so much about retaining college graduates but about retaining “millennials” and young families. Look at Next City’s “Making Philadelphia Family Friendly” discussion and the recent Barcamp conversation around how Philadelphians can educate their children without leaving the city.

That’s for another report.

Companies: Campus Philly

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