The majority of college students in Alabama university are undecided on whether to stay in Alabama after graduation, according to a new survey from the Alabama Commission on Higher Education.
The survey, which polled college sophomores, juniors and seniors in 14 of Alabama’s public universities, found 43 percent of responding students answered “maybe” when asked if they would stay in Alabama after graduation. 23 percent responded “no,” with 33 percent responding “yes,” according to the ACHE survey.
“Encouraging graduates to stay in Alabama to live and work is a win-win concept,” said ACHE Chairman and Dothan businessman Charles Buntin, in the survey released Friday. “Experiences need to be created to connect Alabama businesses and soon-to-be graduates.”
The state Legislature appropriated $800,000, been equally split between ACHE and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama’s new called Retain Alabama, to increase students awareness of careers in Alabama, according to ACHE.
In the survey, students were asked to rate their impressions of Alabama and the deciding factors of where to work and live after their graduation. Job opportunities, cost of living, salary, and potential for career advancement all ranked high as areas of high importance for responding students.
Impressions of the state’s political environment, social awareness, salaries and acceptance toward people of diverse backgrounds all received marks among students, indicating these might dissuade graduating students from remaining in Alabama, according to the survey.
Student’s impressions on Alabama’s natural environment, cost of living, and friendliness received higher marks among responding students.
“We need to identify and systematically address the obstacles that discourage university graduates from starting their careers in Alabama,” said ACHE Executive Director Jim Purcell. “Students are often not aware of the career opportunities available to them in Alabama.”