May 4, 2011

Higher education is not salvation

I don't get to agree with the folks over at One of Nine very often, but this time I think they've nailed it:

So if upstate NY does decide to stick to its existing [higher education] knitting rather than diversifying, and at the same time potential students (or their parents) start to figure out that it might be wiser to acquire higher education in some non-traditional way (such as distance learning), or build up a work history and become self-sufficient earlier, thus becoming able to take more risks because they haven't racked up buckets of debt--what then? What happens to upstate? Wouldn't it just become "even more a welfare ward of downstate" anyway?

There are real advantages to having colleges and universities here - I don't want to understate that. At the same time, though, those colleges and universities are in many ways the last remaining outposts of a formerly much more prosperous (and diversified) Upstate economy. They've done well because higher education has seen more of a premium than the other things we used to make - but there are lots of reasons to think that that won't last forever either.

I don't expect that premium to vanish, especially for Cornell - but at the same time I don't expect it to keep growing like it has.

Posted by simon at May 4, 2011 8:13 AM in
Note on photos


Ellen said:

And the health care industry, too. Upstate NY is eventually going to run out of old people. :-)

Krys Cail said:

Cornell actually agrees-- they are no longer projecting the kind of growth that they were in the past. However, County population projections have not been altered to match.