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  • Writer's pictureBeth & Tim Manners

State Schools Reverse 'Brain Drain'

The New York Times: "State-funded universities have always striven to keep their states’ brightest students at home, knowing that many of those who leave their communities will never return. Now, as the pandemic erodes the economy and civil unrest sweeps the country, colleges are seeing renewed success in their efforts to reverse years of brain drain, with students responding to a new focus on basics, like family and community, over prestige ... Historically, Harvard has lowered its minimum standardized test scores for some students recruited from what it calls 'sparse country' — 20 largely rural states like Montana, South Dakota, Alabama and, yes, West Virginia, where few students tend to apply to elite universities."

"For state residents, tuition and fees at W.V.U. for 2019-20 were about $9,000 a year, plus $10,000 in room and board. By comparison, Yale University estimates the cost of attendance at $78,725 for 2020-21 ... The price difference was a big draw for Juliet Wanosky, who grew up in Parkersburg, 'an everybody-knows-everybody kind of town,' she said, and was valedictorian of her class this year. Her father is a chemical engineer, her mother a substitute school secretary. She toured M.I.T., Carnegie Mellon and Harvard before the high sticker prices scared her away from even applying."

"Some families don’t want their children leaving the state or going to schools with liberal reputations because they worry it will change them. Georgia Beatty said she gave up a spot at New York University in favor of West Virginia, where she is currently a senior, mainly because of the price difference. Now she is determined to broaden her opportunities by leaving the state for graduate school. But she has butted heads with her grandfather, a retired police officer, who believes that universities radicalize students, and that going out of state will make it worse, especially in this protest era."

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