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Buffalo, Rochester and Ithaca rank highly on a list of the best cities to attend college in the country.

The American Institute for Economic Research came out with the study using a number of measurements, including density of college students, arts and leisure establishments, cost of living and entrepreneurial activity. The report first appeared locally in the Rochester Business Journal.

Of mid-sized metros, Buffalo ranked fourth and Rochester ranked seventh. Ithaca was number one among college towns.

With such large numbers of college students, Buffalo and Rochester must do a better job keeping them around after graduation. It’s mind-boggling these two cities could be rated so highly, yet struggle to grow their populations and economy.

American Institute for Economic Research


9 Responses to Rochester a Great College Town

  1. October 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm Orielly responds:

    “With such large numbers of college students, Buffalo and Rochester must do a better job keeping them around after graduation. It’s mind-boggling these two cities could be rated so highly, yet struggle to grow their populations and economy.”

    I think the problem is more the Colleges than Rochester. IF those schools accepted more area and NYS student vs “international” or out of state, students (who they all brag about) I think we would find more of a basic desire and willingness from graduates to stay here in Rochester. The IP they educate and instill into their graduates would also stay in this country. The UR offers no incentive that I know of for reduced admission standards, or tuition for Students from ALL of this area, even though their parents and grand parents have supported the UR for years decades, over a century. .

    • That’s what makes UR a private school… they don’t have to. If that’s a problem for you, have your child get an equal (or better), yet significantly less expensive undergraduate education at Geneseo (through they also except these terrible internationals you speak of)… or maybe you should get over your xenophobia and be thankful that such an excellent institution of higher learning exists in this city and has maintained it through the demise of Kodak.

  2. October 5, 2012 at 5:53 pm Orielly responds:

    If the UR is a private school, as you say, and have no responsibility to the Rochester area (who funded, built and support The UR with a free infrastructure today that the UR pays 0 for) then please tell your friends at the UR to stop demanding our tax dollars to fund their PRIVATE school. The UR has received more related tax dollars to fund their initiatives than ANY SUNY school over the last 4 years. If they don’t take TAX money and pay property and profit taxes, they can do what they want.

    Xenophobia– if the means not wanting to educate foreign students vs US kids in our colleges, if that means not sharing the USA’s IP with Foreign countries via their students leaving here and taking the IP with them so they then can compete against us, call me all the names you want. I wear the badge proudly. China will soon go to the moon and finally did put men in space thanks to our (Clinton) sharing our two stage rocket technology.

  3. October 5, 2012 at 7:32 pm Edward Richards responds:

    UR college tuition has DOUBLED within the last five years. Anyone dare to mention that and why?

    • Tuition, room and board at UR for the 2007-08 year was $42,842 to $44,980 (with tuition alone being around $33,000). Tuition, room and board for the 2012-13 is $53,160 to $55,476 (with tuition alone $42,000) Those numbers are staggering, but don’t represent a doubling over the last five years.

  4. October 6, 2012 at 3:20 pm lynn e responds:

    Rochester and Buffalo are making their number one business colleges and universities. That is what people are atttracted too. After that they can choose to work at a university here or move on. Most move on. The mid West is filled with great colleges and universities, it doesn’t increase the population there except temporarily and most strongly encourage stents to vote absentee ballot so as not to affect elections there. Another move to discourage people to not put down roots or even get the idea to do so.

  5. U of R purposefully reduced their enrollment numbers in the early 90’s to become ‘more prestigious’. When I worked at the Elmwood Inn in the mid-late 80’s U of R was much more of a rich kid party school than a ‘research institution’ from what I observed (and this was after the drinkiing age was raised to 21). U of R also used to give employee families free tuition and I went to high school with more than a couple of people who had a parent take a job there just so their kid could go to the school for free. U of R removed this benefit fairly recently. I think RIT did (does?) still do this for employees but doesn’t for families anymore.
    Aslo, his is another of the ‘Oh, Rochester looks good!’ lists we see constantly, but we never hear about the ‘worst out of 100’ lists we make far more often and in areas that actually matter and can be quantified with real data.

  6. re: retaining more college students

    Assuming Rochester has a problem (which is usually taken as a given but should not be assumed so easily), is the problem that the region is not retaining enough of its college graduates or is the problem that recent college graduates from other colleges are not moving here?

    I remember seeing a presentation from Federal Reserve economists in Buffalo that indicated that WNY’s “brain drain” is a fallacy. The problem is that WNY has a complete lack of “brain gain.” That is, people leave WNY at rates that are identical or better than most other metros. But, nobody moves here. So, while NYC and ROC may have identical rates of out-migration (the alleged brain drain), the rates of in-migration (brain gain) are completely different and, in WNY, in-migration is almost zero.

    This data is important. Assuming it also applies to college students, it is unrealistic to suggest ROC should retain a higher % of college students than every other metro. Assuming ROC’s retention rates are normal (analogous to the “out-migration” data), then the problem is attracting college graduates from UCLA, NYU, Florida St., Oregon, and all points in-between.

    This actually becomes a crucial point: We have to focus on recruiting out-of-towners, not just retaining in-towners who might be disinclined to stay. I mean, we cannot reasonably expect everyone who attends college in or around ROC to stay here permanently. Rather, it seems like we should be more focused on people who did not attend a local college. That would, in theory, make ROC less insular, but I certainly understand the “bird in hand” concept. Again, this is why such data would be important. We can’t just assume “everyone leaves but they should stay.” Maybe there is a statistically significant percentage of people who will not stay, no matter what (kind of like the statistically-constant percentage of people who are invited to a wedding but will not attend. The reasons for not attending are innumerable, but the percentage of invitees who decline is usually similar). If this is the case, we shouldn’t fret about it, and we shouldn’t waste resources trying to convince them to stay.

  7. March 5, 2013 at 6:54 am TechnologyProfessional responds:

    The “Brain Drain” vs “Brain Gain” observation is spot on as to description of the problem, but perhaps not the solution.

    Recruiting talent trained elsewhere (especially in the National Capital Region or further south, and Michigan or further west) is essentially impossible. The problem is not that we don’t have a reasonable amount to offer, it is that others have at least a wee bit more. Talented people will graduate college with at least two opportunities to pursue, and if one is in Rochester and the other is in Nashville (say), which would you recommend?

    Almost anywhere that is growing (and that is where the competing job offers come from – places that are growing) is better than here. NC Research Triangle, DC area, Boston, NYC, you name it, they beat us in the eyes of a young, talented, unattached recruit.

    Having been involved in recruiting and hiring locally for technical talent, the key is that you have to go for folks who have some other tie to the area. Either they grew up here, married someone whose family is from here, or went to school here (“here” being roughly from Buffalo to Albany). Other than that, you just won’t land a recruit.

    So what’s the solution? If we can’t attract talent from elsewhere, and we will continue to lose the ordinary percentage of talent developed here, what can we do?

    Two things: one, we can greatly pump up the numbers of students trained here, so that keeping a small percentage of a huge pool is enough to meet our employment needs, and two, we can focus on dirtier jobs and niche industries where you don’t have to compete. That second suggestion is not going to sit well with opinion leaders, but it is a simple reality: if you can’t compete, then don’t. Find a way to get by without having to compete.

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