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How important is it for college grads to return to rural communities? The other day I was looking for some information on the impact that increasing educational attainment levels have on a community. Rural communities are having difficulties retaining and attracting youth and I wanted to be able to talk to my audiences in the region about the economic impact, in dollars and cents, of those leaving after graduating college. Luckily, I found a great article from Brookings written by Jonathan Rothwell and published Nov. 17, 2015.

Depending on the quality of the college and also the availability of jobs in these rural communities Rothwell states that " the average bachelor's degree holder contributes $278,000 more to local economies than the average high school graduate through direct spending over the course of his or her lifetime, an associate degree holder contributes $81,000 more than a high school graduate." Assuming a life span of another 50 years this means that each graduate would contribute about $5,560 per year to the local community.

In the region I am currently working, those with a college degree only make up 13.7% of the population compared to the State average of 31.5%. Increasing these numbers could have significant economic impacts.

For the full Brookings article please see:

Interested in strategies for attracting these youths back to your region? Here is a short article called Five Strategies for Attracting & Retaining Youth in Rural Communities: