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3 things that influence college graduates from rural areas to return to their communities

Posted Mar 25, 2022

When high-achieving students from rural areas go off to college and graduate, they often choose to live in suburban or urban areas instead rural communities like the ones where they grew up, decades of research have shown.

Often they are following the advice of adults – or just deciding on their own – to search for success in cities, where career opportunities are more abundant. Teachers, coaches and neighbors might reinforce the message to leave behind the small-town life and its limited career opportunities.

But that long-standing pattern might be changing. Some rural communities are beginning to see their college graduates return.

Iowa State University Ph.D. Candidate in Higher Education Stephanie Sowl studies higher education and rural communities, and she and her colleagues are curious about what might be leading adults to return to rural communities a decade or two after they graduate from college elsewhere.

Read Sowl’s full article in The Conversation here.