College Participation Rates:
Import/Export Ratio of College-Going Students

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For the Year

Residence and Migration of College-Going Students

Why is this important?

This import/export ratio of first-time freshmen indicates whether a state is an importer or exporter of college-going students. States that import more students than they export may benefit if out-of- state students stay after graduation. Conversely, if a state exports large numbers of students to other states, they may lose talented young residents if they don't return after graduation.

What are the policy implications?

The important questions to address here are:

1. To what degree are the students who attend college out-of-state returning after graduation?

2. To what degree are the students who come from other states staying after graduation?

3. Are the best and brightest students leaving the state?

4. Is most of the out- or in-migration occurring just across borders - influenced by access and/or reciprocity agreements?

Data are not available to answer Question 1. Question 2 can be addressed by matching student completion records to unemployment insurance and driver's license files (if there is a common identifier, e.g. social security number). Question 3 can be addressed by matching secondary student-level data (GPA's, ACT and SAT scores) to postsecondary student-level enrollment files (again if there is a common identifier, e.g. social security number). Finally, question 4 can be answered by analyzing the IPEDS Residency and Migration files. Below is a link to detailed state-level files for residency and migration.

Some states have developed policies to keep the brightest students in state. These are usually in the form of tuition breaks and other financial incentives. Examples include merit-based scholarships only applicable for in-state colleges and free or reduced tuition for students scoring at or above certain ACT/SAT scores.

Other factors to consider:

Detailed State Residency and Migration Files

Data sources and related links: