To Stay or Not to Stay after Graduation?
Data from a new study shows a stark difference between Mississippi public college graduates in health and education related fields and STEM fields and their plans to stay in the state after they throw their cap.
News 25’s Kristen Durand breaks it down for us through the eyes and thoughts of students at USM’s Gulf Park campus in Long Beach.
Colorado native Pepper Ginder moved more than 1,000 miles to Mississippi and is now pursuing a nursing degree at USM’s Gulf Park campus. She says she plans to work in the Magnolia State after graduation, hoping to help raise the bar in her field. A new Lifetracks report shows that students earning degrees in educational and health related fields from Mississippi’s public universities are the most likely to stay in the state five years after graduation. “I do feel that Mississippi needs strong and powerful and well educated nurses in our system down here to improve us and to bring us to a higher level,” said Ginder.
On the flip side, the research, conducted by Mississippi State University’s National Planning and Analysis Research Center, also suggests that those earning degrees in science, technology, engineering and math are more likely to leave within a year. Biological Sciences student Alex Sullivan said, “Science and technology major students usually have to apply around the country to go to graduate school or professional school and because it’s very difficult to get accepted to one program, it kind of keeps your options open.”
The most recent data, from 2013, shows that only 17 percent of students from out of state chose to stay in Mississippi after graduation. Biological Sciences student Jason Syverson said, “A lot of people go to a different state to get away from what they’re used to, get out on their own and once they’ve done that, they go back to either where they’re comfortable or they find a place that they want to be comfortable.”
While students like Minnesota native Jason Syverson plan to look to other states and even countries for grad school, Pepper Ginder says she is one of the 17 percent who plans to set roots here after graduation. “I’m one of the ones that has stayed and will stay because I do feel that in order for there to be change, you have to be that change,” said Ginder.