January 25, 2019

For Your Consideration

A new Federal Reserve report looks at the impact of student loan debt on adult home ownership and the rural brain drain. While the impact on home ownership has been studied and documented, I have not seen any other studies documenting the impact of student loan debt on rural brain drain (feel free to reply to this email if you know of any). The report looks at the relationship between millennial student loan debt and where they choose to live after entering repayment. They have three main findings:

  1. Those with student loan debt are less likely to stay in rural areas than those without it.
  2. Those with the most amount of debt (in the highest quartile of outstanding student loan balances) are the most likely to leave rural areas.
  3. Those with student loans who move from rural to urban areas fare better on several measures, including student loan delinquency rates and balance reduction.

This may seem obvious — there are more and better paying jobs in most urban areas than rural areas. Yet, people often cite the higher cost of living as something that can cancel out the benefit of higher paying jobs. This report shows people are doing better in urban areas in spite of higher costs of living. As rural counties grapple with declining populations, they might think about following the example of states like Maine that offer student loan help to people who live and work in the state.

The Next Evolution

North Carolina saw higher voter turnout in the 2018 midterm election compared to the 2014 midterm election in all but 3 counties — Halifax, Jones, and Pamlico. The majority of midterm voters voted during the early voting period (51.3%) as compared to in-person (43.6%). The number of voters of every race and ethnicity increased in 2018 compared to 2014. While youth voters still had a lower turnout rate than older voters, they had the highest increase in voter turnout rate as compared to 2014: the voter turnout rate of 18 to 25-year-olds increased 11 points while the rate for 25 to 40-year-olds increased by 10 points.

Learn more about voter turnout in the 2018 midterm election in this new report from Democracy NC.

turnout rates

A New Slant

A new report calls into question the way we measure higher education’s impact on economic mobility. Researchers from Stanford and the University of Virginia examine how the standard practice of looking at the share of students who receive Pell grants can actually reward some colleges that aren’t doing a good job serving their lower income students and punish those actually doing a better job. The issue lies in the income differences between different state populations.

States with relatively higher income populations like Connecticut have a smaller pool of lower income students among possible applicants while states with lower incomes like Maine have a larger pool. Looking at the share of students receiving Pell grants at an institution does not take into account the difference in these initial pools. The researchers propose an alternative way of measuring how colleges provide access to low income students. Read a summary in this EducationNext article.

Need to Know: Announcing the People’s Session

Lots of folks come to Raleigh when the legislature is in session with an agenda. Legislators. Lobbyists. Advocacy groups. We want to understand your agenda for education in North Carolina. The issues that keep you up at night. Issues that leave you everything from angry to hopeful. We believe the future doesn’t just happen to us. We believe your voice can shape the direction of our state. Join us.


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  • Researchers discover the brain cells that make pain unpleasant

    Stanford Medicine | 01/17/2019

  • One Way to Finance Tech Startups Outside of Superstar Cities

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  • Teacher Turnover in North Carolina

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