Does Utah Have A College Graduate Brain Drain?


In 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 63.1% of Utahns over the age of 25 had at least some college experience or an associate’s degree. On the basis of those figures, Utah is certainly one of the most educated states, ranking 2nd in the U.S. But looking beyond some college experience or an associate’s degree, Utah’s rank in educational attainment drops significantly. Utah ranks 15th for the percentage of adults over 25 with a bachelor’s degree or higher (26.1%) and 23rd for adults with advanced degrees (8.3%).

To try to answer whether Utah is indeed experiencing a brain drain, Utah Foundation has completed a survey of students who graduated from Utah colleges and universities in 2004. The Utah Foundation survey is the first attempt in Utah to measure the loss of Utah-based college graduates and analyze the reasons for their departure as well as Utah’s strengths in retaining its graduates. Utah Foundation conducted an internet-based survey of 900 graduates who attended college in Utah, at both public and private schools, and graduated in the spring or summer of 2004 with degrees ranging from bachelor’s levels to Ph.D.s. The survey was modeled after similar surveys conducted in the Greater Boston and Greater Philadelphia regions.

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Executive Summary
Research Report

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