A President's Reflections

Q&A: Keeping NH students in NH

Posted on March 16, 2009

This question was recently posed:

What is the University’s position on the 55% initiative that is being championed by the University System of New Hampshire? Have we been asked to offer our insights? Will the university be participating in the “Stay, Work, Play” incentive program that would encourage students of NH Higher Education institutions to stay and work in NH in exchange for payments on a students outstanding student loans?

I have been involved in the discussion of the 55% initiative and while generally supportive, I have mixed feelings about it.

I agree that part of our mission is workforce development and it is a positive thing to educate graduates who then stay in NH and strengthen our workforce.

That said, I don’t like the idea of public policy incentives or obstacles to individual student choice.  If someone grows up in small town NH and wants to return there after graduation that’s terrific.  But if they want to leave NH for a while to live in a place like Boston or New York, more power to them.

So if there is an incentive to stay in NH and it feels right to our graduates, I’m pleased it works out for them.  If you grew up in NH and attend school in NH, I’m inclined to think that leaving the state might be a good thing for a while.  It’s a lovely place in which to study and live, but the world is a big place and i think people do well by getting out there and seeing it for a while.

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