Colleges rarely recruit students from rural high schools

Colleges rarely send recruiters to rural high school campuses because doing so is not cost-effective. Recruiters can see many more students a day in urban or suburban communities, and students in rural areas often come from lower-income backgrounds and have greater college financial needs, making them less profitable for colleges, NPR reports.Other challenges to rural recruiting come from the communities themselves. Students in rural areas are often hesitant to leave smaller communities they know and love and move to bustling college campuses. In addition, their parents often fear that students who attend college may leave their home area for good.When rural students attend college, however, they help to increase the diversity of backgrounds on campus. Rural economies also benefit from having a more educated workforce and the national economy relies on rural communities. An influx of rural students can also help colleges as overall enrollment is declining. Attending college not only opens opportunities for students, it also opens economic opportunities for communities. This point was illustrated in Michigan when the state lost out on a second Amazon headquarters because it did not have enough college graduates. In rural parts of the country that have a limited number of industries, like Appalachia, losing a major industry hits especially hard and the lack of enough college graduates in the area can make it difficult to recruit new industries, especially as many are based on newer technologies. This reality is causing what some have called a “rural higher education crisis.”

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