I just found some interesting statistics. There are currently over 60,000 UNF graduates, of which 36,000, or 60%, have stayed in the Jacksonville area. This is a significantly higher percentage than even most of Florida's other state universities; for instance, about 100,000 of 250,000 USF graduates (40%) have stayed in the Tampa Bay area. This pattern has apparently kept up among recent graduates, including the 40% if our students who are not originally from the Jacksonville metro area.
This means that a significant portion of UNF graduates, including graduates who aren't originally from Jacksonville, are choosing to stay in Jacksonville after graduating. Overall, however, we're not producing very many college graduates - UNF is by far the biggest local school, but only has 60,000 graduates, in a metro area of over 1,000,000. This goes back to my earlier point about Florida's limited college options. I notice that Tampa scores similarly to us.
There's not much we can do about that. Neither UNF nor the other colleges are going to grow substantially (and UNF will never grow beyond about 25,000 students a year), and at this point it's unlikely that anyone will start an additional college (a real college, not a for-profit). But there are other things that can be done. UNF is currently working on improving its graduation rate, which would increase the local number of graduates. However, the rest is going to be in the city's hands to cultivate an environment attractive to college graduates.