College Student Retention Drives Growth in the City and Region

ESI assisted Campus Philly in developing its new report summarizing the impacts of retaining graduates from area colleges and universities on Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley. Released during its stakeholders conference “Young, Smart, and Local” April 9th, the report sets a course for higher ed and talent retention as an economic development strategy. Econsult Solutions Principal and Senior Vice President Lee Huang presented insights from the research as part of a panel discussion held during the conference.

ESI analyzed data from a variety of sources to measure growth in young graduates in Philadelphia relative to peer cities, and the local economic impact of that growth. The analysis found that from 2000 to 2017, the city’s overall population grew by 4 percent, but the number of young adults with college degrees increased by 115 percent, to 128,400. This growth rate exceeded all but one other major peer city. In addition, ESI employed a unique approached to mine student retention data from more than 1.2 million local alumni from Linked In’s “Career Insights” platform. Among the most recent cohort of attendees (2010-2014), 54% of alumni are currently within the Philadelphia region.

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