Washington exports college students – a trade deficit that we cannot afford

The Seattle Times reports that Washington sends more students out of state for a college education than come here to attend school. 

[Bjong “Wolf” Yeigh, chancellor of the University of Washington Bothell,] was analyzing the data this year and was surprised to learn that Washington experiences the opposite effect. In fact, it’s one of only 11 states with a net loss of first-time college students.


While nearly 11,000 first-time college students left Washington in fall 2012 to go to college elsewhere, only about 7,000 freshmen moved to Washington to attend school here, according to federal data. (The numbers include two- and four-year colleges.)

Go to the Times story for some good infographics on student migration. 

The Washington Roundtables Benchmarks for a Better Washington also finds that Washington ranks 39th in bachelor’s degrees awarded per capita. Increasing post-secondary learning opportunities – an issue involving both access and affordability – must again become a legislative priority. As the Times reports notes, there are many excellent jobs that are unfilled because of a mismatch between employee qualifications and employer requirements. I wrote about that skills gap here.