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Student Migration

by Tod Massa 30. March 2018 14:23

This is a guest post from our Virginia Management Fellow, Tyler Williams.

Until 2013, out-migration had never occurred in Virginia (University of Virginia Demographics Research Group). Now for the fourth year in a row, data show more people are moving out of Virginia than into it. This shift in migration patterns has many implications for Virginia and its demography. At SCHEV, we were interested in understanding more about the student migration patterns into and out of Virginia and determining Virginia’s net status of student migration. 

Using data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), SCHEV examined the migration of students reported by colleges and universities nationwide in and out of Virginia. Overall, Virginia has been a net importer of first-time in college (FTIC) students for the biennial fall enrollments since 2008. In 2016, Virginia had a net gain of 4,204 FTIC. The state’s status as a net importer remains when examining enrollment among FTIC students directly from high school with a net gain of 2,618 students in 2016. 

 

Chart showing annual migration of all first-time in college students

Migration of FTIC Students

Year

Virginians attending college out-of-state

Non-Virginians enrolling in Virginia

Virginians attending college in-state

2008

                                                15,385

                                17,293

                                          64,062

2010

                                                14,426

                                18,784

                                          63,961

2012

                                                13,863

                                19,743

                                          63,040

2014

                                                13,686

                                18,432

                                          63,290

2016

                                                13,690

                                17,894

                                          61,070

 

Chart showing annual migration of first-time in college students enrolling in college within 12 months of high school graduation.

 

Migration of FTIC Students Direct from High School

Year

Virginians attending college out-of-state

Non-Virginians enrolling in Virginia

Virginians attending college in-state

2008

                                                10,785

                                13,189

                                          47,628

2010

                                                10,833

                                12,666

                                          45,982

2012

                                                10,571

                                14,601

                                          48,012

2014

                                                10,805

                                14,267

                                          49,490

2016

                                                11,264

                                13,945

                                          49,639

 

Out-Migration Context

Virginia students out-migrating from the state tend to migrate to North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, and Florida. These states have remained in the top five popular destinations for the previous three biennial fall enrollments. 

FTIC Virginians migrating out-of-state were more likely to enroll in a public university with 5 of the top out-of-state schools being a public. Nine of the top ten out-of-state schools were either public universities or non-profit privates with the exception of the University of Phoenix-Arizona. West Virginia University enrolled the most students from Virginia with 414 students in 2016, which follows its previous trend and top spot of enrolling the most Virginians in the previous three biennial fall enrollments. 

Examining out-migrating students’ enrollment patterns by sector; we see these patterns closely resemble the behaviors of Virginia residents enrolling in-state with 95 percent of FTIC and 99 percent of FTIC direct from HS enrolling at a not-for-profit private or public institution in 2016.

 

In-Migration Context

Students migrating to Virginia tend to migrate from Maryland, North Carolina, foreign countries, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. These origins have been the top five sources of in-migration for the past three biennial fall enrollments. International students constituted the largest enrollment at Virginia’s public institutions with 81%, while 50% of North Carolina residents enrolled at a nonprofit private.

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