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Letter: We must stop exporting our college students

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While reading a statewide newspaper over coffee the other day, I came across two different articles that when taken together make it clear that Minnesota needs new leadership.

One article was about a report titled "Student Migration Trends". The report outlined some disturbing numbers. Between 2003 and 2008, more than 67,600 Minnesota high school students chose to go to somewhere else for college. At the same time, only 36,200 students from other states enrolled in Minnesota colleges. Since research has shown that students tend to stay where they received their degree, a net loss of college graduates has unhappy economic implications for Minnesota.

The second article, regarding a report out of Georgetown University, underscores the negative impact of exporting our college students. The report details national job projections and their educational requirements by state. Minnesota was ranked second in the nation in its need for a well-educated workforce. By 2018, it was predicted, 70 percent of all jobs in Minnesota will require post-secondary education.

The reason we are exporting more college students than we are importing is rising tuition costs in Minnesota. Rising tuition is the result of years of reduced budget appropriations for higher education. Reduced budgets are the result of Gov. Pawlenty's GOP ideology and the constriction of Minnesota's economy under his leadership.

If we continue exporting our educated workforce, Minnesota will find it difficult to expand high tech industries -- the very industries that will be the basis of any sustained economic growth.

Each of us can start the process of choosing a new direction for Minnesota by casting a vote in the Aug. 10 primary. Of the candidates for governor, only one has a plan to grow Minnesota's economy -- Matt Entenza. Voting for Matt is one thing each of us can do to help change our state's direction and make Minnesota great again.

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