Saturday, October 31, 2009

Escape From NJ: College Edition

It sounds like once students see the world beyond NJ, they're not too likely to return to home.

N.J. losing out on $6B a year when college students flee state

 When it comes to K-12 education, New Jersey is usually A-1. The state is the nation’s yearly valedictorian, or salutatorian. Certainly never less than fifth in the class.

So why then is New Jersey at the bottom of so many high education categories: 50th in per capita funding; 47th in college capacity, and therefore, worst, by far, at keeping students in-state.

Republican Chris Christie condemns the "brain drain" of New Jersey students going away to college and envisions corporate partnerships to keep students here.

Independent Chris Daggett says higher education is one of his top concerns, condemns the culture of low state support for public colleges.

Gov. Jon Corzine is vulnerable on the issue: state support for four-year public colleges and universities decreased $63 million to $1.436 billion last year and county colleges took an $11 million hit, down to $222 million.

In this economy, more and more New Jersey students want to stay home. At the state’s 19 community colleges enrollment is up 12 percent, nearing 100,000 for the first time. The nine state colleges (not including Rutgers), are also tipping near 100,000, up 20 percent in the last decade.

Yet in real dollars, the state spends less on higher education than it did 20 years ago. That’s one bottom line.

Here’s another.

About 35,000 kids leave New Jersey each year to go to college and take about $6 billion with them.

"When you factor in tuition, transportation and all other student spending, there is significant revenue leaving the state," said Paul Shelly of the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities. "My calculations put it at $6 billion."

Shelly says the money isn’t going far, either. Most New Jersey students stay in the Mid-Atlantic or New England.

"New Jersey does much research as to where the students are going. I don’t think they want to admit our money is being exported just over to Lehigh Valley or down in Delaware."

"If we have the amenities and businesses to keep students in town, maybe they’ll consider Newark as place of permanent residence after they graduate," Pryor said.

Extrapolate that to the state, and it is the solution to the "brain drain."

"Studies show a very high percentage of students get their first jobs in the state where they attend college," Shelly said. "I don’t think New Jersey can continue to lose our bright students, the very students we create."

1 comment:

  1. My first time living out of state was attending a college in North Carolina. That opened my eyes. Ever since then I wanted to leave NJ. I finally did 10 years later moving first to Delaware, then to Florida. There is an attraction to going someplace else for education that is hard to resist. Once students see what life is like in another state it's hard to keep them in the Graden State IMO.