DURANT, OK -- A new study by the Regional University System of Oklahoma finds that almost all of the students graduating from these regional universities stay in the state.
And city officials, like Chamber of Commerce executive director Janet Reed say that has a major impact on the local economy.
"It's always a win when you can keep those graduates in your city," Reed said.
It's a growing trend officials are seeing in Durant.
"As our community has continued to grow, which is has been doing for the past 15 years very rapidly, we have seen more of those graduates from Southeastern remain in the community," Reed said.
According to the study by the Regional University System of Oklahoma, more than 90 percent of regional university graduates stay in Oklahoma. The study found regional university graduates account for 40 percent of all college graduates in the state.
Reed points to the recent expansion of the Choctaw Casino and Resort and First United Bank as examples of job creation in the area.
"Their corporate headquarters are here in Durant as well. Many of those students have started when they were freshman, and have continued to work for the company until they graduate," she said.
And she said having a larger workforce will help coax new corporations and businesses to the area.
"We're looking for companies that not only fit what we have trained skilled labor, but those companies are also looking at us to see what our workforce can provide for them as well," Reed said.
The study also pointed out that in 2013, the number of students graduating from a regional institution was up to more than 7,000 across the state - 644 more graduates than in 2012.