MSU leaders encourage students to stay in the state after graduation

Recent research shows that many college graduates leave the state for jobs and money and a better quality of life

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)- 50 % of Mississippi’s college graduates leave the state as soon as they get their diploma, according to the Mississippi State Auditor’s office study on brain drain. While that doesn’t come as a surprise to college instructors; at MSU, Student Advisors and mentors are working to keep growing businesses closer to home.

Students at Mississippi State University pitch ideas once a month in front of members of the E-Center on campus in an effort to get money to support their entrepreneurship ideas. Some students already have their businesses off the ground and just need the funding to make their mark throughout the state and beyond.

Recent research shows that many college graduates leave the state for jobs and money and a better quality of life. Educators are looking to find ways to keep the younger generation at home.

“It’s not just jobs, it’s not just education, it’s also creating a place where it’s socially attractive for them to stay,” said E-Center coordinator Jeffrey Rupp.

Rupp said in order to keep folks here it has to start with those in higher positions.

“The leadership of the state has to really make a conservative effort as to why would young people want to stay here,” said Rupp.

Rupp and his team saw an opportunity to support student-run businesses and encourage long-term commitments to stay in Mississippi.

“One way to do that is entrepreneurship. We have over 100 student start ups here at State worth over 30 million dollars and most of them have stayed in the state, gone back to their hometowns, and opened up their business and created jobs and economic churn in the community,” said Rupp.

In 2022 alone MSU has raised over 70 thousand dollars for young entrepreneurs looking to fund their ideas, and it’s not just students that Rupp wants to support.

“We want to get folks who come to visit and come to school here. We want to get them thinking this is a place to stay, a place to stay because the quality of life, because of the cost of living, and it’s a good place to raise a family,” said Rupp.

More than three dozen students pitched at the start up summit and MSU gave out over 30 thousand dollars.

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