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Media Memo: Percentage of Eau Claire residents with college degrees increases

TO:              News Editors and Directors

FROM:         Judy Berthiaume

DATE:          Sept. 27, 2011

SUBJECT:    Percentage of Eau Claire residents with college degrees increases

Nearly 36 percent of Eau Claire residents held a bachelor's degree or more advanced degree in 2010, a 6.8 percent increase from 2000, according to the U.S. Census's 2010 American Community Survey one-year estimates.

The increase from 28.9 percent in 2000 to 35.7 percent in 2010 was the most significant increase among Wisconsin's largest cities.

Eau Claire is behind only Madison (54.5 percent) in terms of educational attainment.

Eau Claire also is well ahead of the statewide average of 26.3 percent of people age 25 and over who had at least a college degree in 2010.

A number of UW-Eau Claire initiatives in the last decade have likely contributed to the growing number of college graduates living in the community.

From 2000-2010, UW-Eau Claire increased the number of its graduates by nearly 20 percent. And the university's latest alumni employment survey found that 26 percent of the graduates who responded planned to stay in the Chippewa Valley, a 5 percent increase from a survey of 1999-2000 graduates.

In recent years, UW-Eau Claire also has stepped up its efforts to educate students and alumni about career options in the Chippewa Valley, and it has increased its efforts to connect area employers with students. The university hosts a number of events that bring students and Chippewa Valley employers together for networking and other opportunities that can lead to internships and/or full-time employment options.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Census Bureau released a study showing that education levels have a significant impact on earnings over a 40-year period. The study found that education level had more of an impact than any other demographic factor, including gender or race.

The study indicates that adult workers with a bachelor's degree had median incomes of $44,534, compared to $27,342 for high school graduates.

To discuss UW-Eau Claire's efforts to provide the region with more college graduates, contact Mike Rindo, executive director of university communications, at 715-836-4742 or rindomj@uwec.edu.

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