BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A new survey shows students graduating from colleges and universities in the Baltimore area are more likely to stay and work here instead of moving out of the region.

Rochelle Ritchie explains what’s behind the change of heart.

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The survey is done every three years and since 2009, a dramatic shift has happened in how college students view Baltimore’s potential.

A recent online survey done by the Baltimore Collegetown Network shows college students have changed their view of the the area.

“It seems like a lot of people are becoming more friendly,” Briawna Jones, a student at the Notre Dame of Maryland University, said.

In 2009, the No. 1 word students used to describe Baltimore was ‘dangerous’ because of a high crime rate.

Fast forward three years, the description is now ‘accessible’.

“There’s a lot of police presence. I see cop cars everywhere lately so I think that helps,” Shelby Carter, another student at Notre Dame, said.

According to the survey, college students are attracted to three things– the nightlife, the Inner Harbor and the community– enough to make them stay.

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“There’s a lot of opportunties here. There is so much in Baltimore, I think it would be easy to find a place to do what I want to do,” student Samantha Dameron said.

In 2003, only 19 percent of college students said they would definitey or likey stay in Baltimore. That number has jumped to more than 37 percent this year.

“But we know that that number can continue to grow. And we have some work to do to make sure they stay here,” Kristen McGuire of the Collegetown Network said.

Thirty-six percent of college students in the Baltimore area say there is a need for more public transportation.

“The students are coming, the colleges are bringing them here, McGuire said. “But to keep them here. We need to keep providing good transportation.”

With a slow job market nationally, students tell WJZ they have a better chance of finding a job here even though the unemployment rate in Baltimore has jumped slightly from 10.5 percent a year ago to 11.1 percent.

“Even if there is no medical stuff, there is research I can look into,” Mindy Daugherty, a student, said.

And more than half of the 3,000 students surveyed said they would recommend Baltimore as a place to live compared to just 41 percent in 2009.

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Sixteen colleges participated in the survey.