JACKSON, Miss. — New research shows that students earning degrees in education and health-related fields from Mississippi’s public universities are the most likely to stay in the state five years after graduation.

Those earning degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics are more likely to leave within a year.

The Lifetracks report was conducted by Mississippi State University’s National Planning and Analysis Research Center.

The Clarion-Ledger reports (http://on.thec-l.com/2ck4YV6 ) the study also provides employment and annual earnings figures of the state’s public university graduates from the class of 2007 to the class of 2013.

The research shows that only 17 percent of out-of-state students who graduate from Mississippi’s public universities remained in the state the year after graduation.

The study showed that the 481 engineering graduates who received a bachelor’s in 2013 of some form of engineering, only 173 of them, or 44 percent, remained in Mississippi one year after graduation.

Jason Keith, dean of the Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State, said he has requested a more tailored Lifetracks report to better understand the in-state opportunities available, along with the economic impact the school contributes to Mississippi.

Keith said the IHL’s report did not encompass all undergraduate degrees awarded in the state in engineering. MSU, for example, has 11 undergraduate degrees in engineering spread out over of different departments, and colleges chose which 10 programs the study would track.

The Bagley College graduates an estimated 500 students each academic year, about half of whom stay in the state, according to Keith.

“I think the fact that students get recruited (companies outside of Mississippi) shows how high quality our educational programs are,” he said, adding, “I would like to see opportunities increase for students to stay within the state.”

At 83 percent, graduates from the class of 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in nursing were the most likely of the degree programs analyzed to still be working in Mississippi a year after graduation.

Ralph Didlake, associate vice chancellor of academic affairs for the University of Mississippi Medical Center, said the findings were expected. He said the school’s mission is to provide well-trained properly credentialed health care professionals for the state.

“We make sure our students understand our level of need in Mississippi,” Didlake said.

VIAThe Associated Press
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