"Communiversity": A Bond You Can't Break

College towns fare relatively well during a recession due to the stable, highly skilled work force colleges offer their communities.
March 25, 2009, 11am PDT | Judy Chang
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"Economists credit a highly skilled work force for the resilience of college towns. Edward Glaeser, an economics professor at Harvard University, has demonstrated that as the share of the adult population with college degrees in a city increases by 10%, wages correspondingly rise by about 7.8%.

'Apart from weather, human capital has been the best long-run predictor of urban success in the last century,' Mr. Glaeser says."

"Another factor helping college towns: 'communiversity,' the current term for partnerships between universities and their home cities, such as joint economic development projects. The trend also reflects a shift in education to increasingly emphasize out-of-classroom learning, such as internships and volunteer work, that by definition engages the community, according to Sal Rinella, president of the Society for College and University Planning in Los Angeles.

'We could actually call these town-gown partnerships a kind of new movement in American higher education,' he says. 'In the last 20 years or so, the boundaries between the cities and the universities have really begun to crumble.'"

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Published on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 in The Wall Street Journal
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