The Brain Drain. Unfortunately, it’s nothing new. Since the early 1980s, elected officials and business leaders alike have been expressing their discontent with New Jersey high school graduates moving out of state to pursue higher education. Students who could have gone to Rutgers, Rowan or the NJIT end up going across one of the rivers to Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York to schools like the University of Delaware, Penn State and NYU.
For the business community, the major concern is not where they go to college per se, but where they live and work after they graduate. The fact is, those students who go out-of-state for college are highly likely to stay out-of-state after graduation and find employment in the state in which they received their degree.
We want to make sure the best and brightest of New Jersey’s students come back and find jobs with our employers. In other words, we want them to contribute to New Jersey’s state economy since we’re the ones who invested in their K-12 education in the first place.
New Jersey has lost a net total of 316,585 college-aged individuals between the years 2007 and 2014, according NJBIA’s recent migration report.While a total of 494,797 residents ranging from ages 18 to 25 years migrated out of New Jersey, only 178,212 migrated into the Garden State between these eight years. This number comes out to an average of 39,000 residents migrating out each year, which is close to the widely used migration statistics offered by the National Center for Education Statistics.
It’s not that New Jersey colleges are undesirable, our state has a capacity issue and does an excellent job retaining our students. According to the College Board, 93 percent of public four-year college students in New Jersey are New Jersey residents New Jersey is tied with Alaska for second highest retention rate in the nation, making us a national leader for the past ten years.
To discuss this further, New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities will be hosting a symposium on this very topic at the Montclair State University Conference Center on October 28th entitled “Making Room With a View to the Future.” Join me along with many other higher education leaders as we discuss this this important topic and plan for New Jersey’s future.