Getting College Students To Stay And Put Down Roots

<p>Pennsylvania attracts more college students than any other state. Now officials are trying to figure out how to have the economy benefit further by getting them to stay after graduation.</p>
June 17, 2007, 1pm PDT | Alex Pearlstein
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"A common refrain in Pennsylvania is that the state is a "net importer" of college students, but a "net exporter" of college graduates.

With its roster of 259 colleges -- including the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania State University in State College -- Pennsylvania attracts more out-of-state freshmen who graduated from high school in the past year than any other state, federal data show."

"But many students take their diplomas and run, leaving Pennsylvania with the third-oldest population in the nation as measured by the number of people 65 and older. The result: The state is struggling to attract the type of cutting-edge companies that would make it a major participant in the "knowledge-based" economy -- one driven by highly skilled workers and industries like technology, science and health care.

The state is on a mission to change that. Three years ago, Pennsylvania developed a program called Keystone Innovation Zones, or KIZ, designed to do two things: keep the best and brightest college students from leaving and foster the creation of science and technology companies. KIZ has awarded $6 million in grants for research faculty to Pennsylvania colleges, offers $25 million in tax credits annually to new companies and encourages hundreds of firms to extend paid internships to students in the belief that collegians who have worked in the state are more likely to stay."

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Published on Monday, June 11, 2007 in The Wall Street Journal
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