What would it take to keep out of state students in West Virginia?

MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - About half of WVU's student population in Morgantown comes from out of the state.

As students from both in-state and out start their school year, some are already looking ahead to their post-grad years and where they might end up.

According to WVU Facts, Morgantown students come from all 55 West Virginia counties, all 50 states including Washington D.C., and more than 100 countries.

The 49 percent coming from outside the Mountain State -- how do we keep them here once they graduate?

"You see a lot of out of state students who come to West Virginia, they really develop a love for the state, they want to live here, and for native West Virginians, they love their home state," said John Deskins, Director of the Bureau of Business & Economic Research at West Virginia University.

Deskins point to two terms -- virtuous cycle and human capital to explain what might make the younger population from the outside stick around.

"The state needs to focus pretty heavily on improving human capital outcome to make the state's workforce more attractive to potential businesses," Deskins said. "As we can start down that path, then we can create this virtuous cycle so we start to make the state more attractive in terms of education and health outcomes."

We found students who aren't as familiar with West Virginia as the ones who grew up here. They have their futures on their mind. Sticking around in the Mountain State isn't out of the question for many.

"I'd stay if I could work in any hospital around here," said Nick Coniglio.

"If you put out there how many jobs are out there post-graduation in the state, you could definitely get a lot more people here," said Kayla Trimble.

For two freshmen, they went to high school in Maryland but spent part of their time in West Virginia.

"More positivity and events, events are always good," said Kevin Kiley.

"Every time there's an event, you meet new people and it takes away the scare of trying to meet new people," said Jackson Kiley.