The numbers have diminished during the past decade, but the percentage has remained relatively constant. About 93 percent of students attending the state’s four regional universities – Central, Eastern, Southern and Western – are from Connecticut. During that time, the student population has dropped from an all-time high of just over 36,000 in 2010, to just under 33,000 in the fall of 2018. At the University of Connecticut, the state's flagship university, the overall number of students has climbed from 30,034 (including 21,881 undergraduates) to 32,182 (including 23,845 undergraduate) last fall. The number of Connecticut residents attending UConn dropped somewhat in recent years – from 23,201 students in 2011 to 22,934 in 2016, before bouncing back slightly. The number of in-state students starting at UConn this semester (Fall 2018) increased by 4 percent, with about 74 percent of the class made up of Connecticut natives, according to UConn officials.
Two universities in New Haven reflect the contrast that illustrates where Connecticut students are headed for college. Seven percent of Yale students are from Connecticut, compared with 95 percent of students at Southern Connecticut State University who are undergraduates in their home state. The only other college with that high a percentage is the private Goodwin College in East Hartford, but with less than half the number of students.
The latest breakdowns for the four regional state universities, according to data on the website of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU): Central has the largest number of undergraduates (7,235 full time in-state; 1,924 part-time in state, 341 part time in state, 46 part time out-of-state), followed by Southern (6,594, 1,222, 283, 23), Western (3,457, 832, 671, 68) and Eastern (3,787, 760, 6). Together, the four universities have 27,704 undergraduate students and 5, 013 graduate students attending.
The University of Connecticut enrolled a total of 32,182 students in the Fall of 2017, including 23,845 undergraduate and 8,337 graduate/professional students. Among the undergraduate students, 19,241 attended classes at the main campus in Storrs, while 4,604 were students of the regional campuses.
By number of undergraduate students enrolled in Fall 2017, the ten most populous colleges in the state are the University of Connecticut (23,845), Post University in Waterbury (10,840), Central Connecticut State University (9,554), Southern Connecticut State University (7,952), Quinnipiac University in Hamden (7,305), Yale University (5,746), Sacred Heart University (5,603), University of New Haven (5,216), University of Hartford (5,088), Western Connecticut State University (5,082) and Eastern Connecticut State University (5,073).
The top ten with the highest percentage of students from Connecticut reads quite differently. Southern and Goodwin top the list at 95 percent, followed by Central and Eastern, both at 93%, Western (89.8%) UConn (76% at campuses statewide, 72% at Storrs), University of Bridgeport (55%), University of Hartford (53%), University of New Haven (42%), Sacred Heart University (35%), and Fairfield University (29%).
Data on the percentage of students who remain in Connecticut after graduation is less clear, although the four public state universities, excluding UConn, indicate that the number exceeds 8 in 10. In 2016, UConn announced that 78 percent of in-state students who graduated from UConn and started work in the previous year remained in the state. In addition, UConn noted that about 30 percent of out-of-state students who graduate from the university and find work within a year put down roots in Connecticut.