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Evergrey

Pittsburgh college graduates choosing to stay in city in increasing numbers

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This is awesome news! Pittsburgh has one of the best collections of institutions of higher learning in the country. We need to do what we can to keep as many as these well-educated young adults in the region! I love to hear that college students from afar love the city so much and want to stay instead of returning home or moving elsewhere.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburgh...n/s_448668.html

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this is a great quote:

With a net 12,566 students, Pennsylvania ranks second nationally only to Florida in terms of gaining more college students than it loses. That's why Briem dismisses all the fuss about Pittsburgh's brain drain.

"We're producing a lot of college graduates locally because one of our core industries is education," he said. "It's not really conceivable that we'll employ all of them."

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^^Great post Evergrey, I too am a Briem fan, that guy's handle on the facts and figures that make Pittsburgh what it is . . . amazing.

Tooluther, talking about college grads staying or coming into SW Pennsylvania, you should be doing your part to boost those stats any day now!

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That's correct 14 days to be exact.

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Great article. It puts numbers to what I have known all along. And it really demonstrates the problem with CMU students, e.g. most of them don't see much of the city while they are here, and they don't even consider staying. But if they do see the city and give it a chance, they are much more likely to want to stick around.

I went to Pitt but I knew a lot of people at CMU, and I saw it all the time. They rarely travelled further than Squirrel Hill or Shadyside. They came in expecting the city to "suck" and never gave it a chance. They never even considered staying here after graduation.

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I agree Gerbil, I graduated from Pitt last year and couldn't believe how many CMU students always stayed in Oakland and never ventured out. To some extent it is the same situation at Pitt. Many students are reluctant to go to different neighborhoods because the public transportation isn't dependable.

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Most college students rarely venture outside of the neighborhood their college is in regardless of the city. Its jsut the way they are. Most of them are people who left home for the first time and thus find comfort only around people who are like them (other college students). It's only antural for them to stay in the studenty neighborhood.

Also, I don't see a problem with them staying in Oakland, Sq. Hill, and Shadyside. Those are some of the best neighborhoods in the city. If anything, they'll get a positive view of the city from those areas. Pittsburghers might extol the virtues of the close-knit residential neighborhoods with their stairways for streets and hillside-hanging wood frame homes, but most students don't really care about those things.

Anyway, I agree that the media hoopla in the past about the "brain drain" is just that - hoopla. They really are looking at the total student populace and then talking how many of the students don't stay. NEver mind the fact taht Pgh has mroe students per capita than most other cities and that most students in general don't stay in the city where they went to school. The media seems to think its a duty for Pgh to keep all the studetns that go to school in Pgh - a tall order considering that most cities don't have such a retention rate.

As for CMU students, most of them aren't from Pittsburgh so its only natural for them to gravitate to either where they came from or to another city.

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My feeling was that CMU students were bigger "home bodies" than those at Pitt. Not sure how other schools would compare.

Oakland, Squirrel Hill and Shadyside are nice areas it's true. But there is a lot more to the city, such as the Strip, South Side and Downtown. And frankly Oakland is dirty.

I wish I knew why students don't venture further. I don't think the schools could make it any easier for them. They provide free rides on PAT. They put up displays in the student unions with schedules for every bus that goes through Oakland. The buses, in my experience, are plenty reliable. But maybe there is a belief among students that they aren't? I don't know.

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I've never understood the "Oakland is dirty" criticisms. It's one of the best urban hoods in the US. Thank god it's not a sterilized environment. It's dense, quirky, gritty and exciting.

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My college years were on the Bluff so it was easy to walk downtown and usually (most often) the the Southside. ...and I loved that access.

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My feeling was that CMU students were bigger "home bodies" than those at Pitt. Not sure how other schools would compare.

Teh big difference between CMU and Pitt and just about every other college/university in the Pgh area is that it attracts alot of people from outside the Pgh area. In fact, the majority are from outside the Pgh area. Thus, many of them might not feel comfortable venturing outside the east end. Its not a matter of them being less adventurous, its actually a matter of them being uncomfortable. Let's face it, Pgh, as with many older Northeast cities, tends to be more cliquey when it comes to the neighborhood areas. You can spot a person who's not from the neighborhood from far away. Would a CMU person really look in place in, say, Knoxville?? Probably not. The east end is by far the most cosmopolitan area of the city so it jsut figures that msot CMU students stay there. Similarly, in Philadelphia, most Penn students stay in the University City and Center City areas not in NE Philly or South Philly. In Boston, most Harvard and MIT students stay in the Cambridge and Back Bay areas, not in South Boston or the North End. In New York, most Columbia students (who are not from NYC) stay in Manhattan and never venture to the outer boroughs.

Oakland, Squirrel Hill and Shadyside are nice areas it's true. But there is a lot more to the city, such as the Strip, South Side and Downtown. And frankly Oakland is dirty.
Oakalnd is dirty, but its among the more cosmopolitan areas of the city and students tend to favor those areas over areas that are more local. Its a matter of fitting in. The South Side has always struck me as being a more local place. Even teh students that go there tend to be Pitt students who are from Pgh.

I wish I knew why students don't venture further. I don't think the schools could make it any easier for them. They provide free rides on PAT. They put up displays in the student unions with schedules for every bus that goes through Oakland. The buses, in my experience, are plenty reliable. But maybe there is a belief among students that they aren't? I don't know.

See above. I jsut think Pgh's cosmopolitan core is the Oakland/Sq. Hill/Shadyside area and this is the area where not jsut students but also transplants who move into the city from other areas will gravitate towards. You certainly get a different feel of Pgh in that area than you do in other areas.

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Oh I agree that Oakland is a very cosmopolitan neighborhood, and I love it. I wouldn't change it. But it does tend to smell like vomit on a Friday evening, and there is so much traffic and litter. Some people don't like that.

I guess the reason I would like to see more students venture farther is that one complaint I heard a lot was that there "isn't enough to do" here. If the people saying that checked out some other areas, such as the Strip, Downtown, etc, they might feel differently.

I realize most CMU students are from out of town and that is why they don't explore the city more. But I still wish more of them would try it out. Or at least I wish less of them would come in already expecting not to like it here.

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I am curious how everyone here knows exactly what CMU and Pitt students do and don't. It seems little to easy to generalize entire universities as to there experiences of the city. Sure the underclassmen experiences of Pittsburgh may a little limited to an old house in oakland merely for the reason that they can't drink alcohol in a bar legally in the strip or the south side. And I guess the whole populous of students don't explore the city and experience all that pittsburgh has to offer because it cost MONEY! Duh! A full time college student by definition doesn't yet have the career they are currently studying(hopefully) for. So, by a sheer lack of funds may be the root of the issue.

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I am speaking from my experience as a student at Pitt who knew a lot of people at both Pitt and CMU. This was from 1999 through 2003. I realize there will be a lot of variation, but I am describing what I saw.

Yes, I am sure money has something to do with it too. Although most students do spend some money. And money spent in Oakland could as easily be spent in, say, the Strip. I would love to see some kind of campaign encouraging students to use their free bus rides and go have dinner or hang out in a new neighborhood. I think a lot of students just don't know what is out there. So they walk down the street to the places they do know about. I don't place the blame on them. I know it is like that everywhere. But it sure would be nice if more of them got out and about in the region.

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well at long last THIS college graduate has boomeranged back home!!

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Those students who have some money and don't explore are definitely missing out. Because those who know like yourself, know pittsburgh is a cool place.

The money issue: i was refering to my self because although i like hanging out in big cities i'm usually limited to what i can do because of a lack of funds.

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^^asics, for some college students (especially ones like me who went on scholarships etc.) you are correct, but as Gerbil mentioned many of the CMU, Carlow and Chatham kids, and a good chunk (though I would say the minority) of the Pitt population have full access to daddy's plastic and many are not shy at all about using it, and using it, and then using it some more.

In no way is this 100% (even at the three C's excluding Pitt) but if you have similar college populations like Boston or Austin or even Cleveland with CWR, you know that a large portion of the economy is fed by college kids buying power.

I share in the concern to make downtown and other parts of the city more accessible and conducive to those students, although I know some fantastic people at CMU and sure there are the same for Carlow and Chatham, those campuses tend to be very very insular, a reflection of decades of the administrations there turning their back on the city and community.

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well at long last THIS college graduate has boomeranged back home!!

Congratulations. Does this mean you found a job?

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nope, not yet. I'm just doing some consulting work for now.

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PghUsa writes "I share in the concern to make downtown and other parts of the city more accessible and conducive to those students, although I know some fantastic people at CMU and sure there are the same for Carlow and Chatham, those campuses tend to be very very insular, a reflection of decades of the administrations there turning their back on the city and community. "

That is a completely inaccurate statement. In fact, Pittsburgh would be a dump of a city right now if it wasn't for the universities. They haven't turned their back on the city and I would argue the city didn't care about them until industries and companies were leaving left and right.

I am so tired of the argument about the spoiled rich kids in their insular campus communities. They bring MONEY into Pittsburgh. They bring JOBS into Pittsburgh.

Comments like these are why some students leave. Why would you stay if you are viewed as such..... :angry:

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^^Balist,

Wouldn't the professors and administrators be the ones who are leaving since I view them as such? There are two very distinct points here that shouldn't be confused although they do interrelate. First most kids at private colleges and universities tend to be spoiled when compared to the average working stiff out there--in Palo Alto or Boston or Austin or Pittsburgh. Yes they do, as I pointed out in bold terms above, bring tons of money to the city and the region, something I respect very much, but the people stewarding them and thier educational experience are the same administrators who went deaf dumb and silent when the city was declared distressed, even as though all three of the majors gobbled up taxable property after taxable property with their flagship institutions and organizations like UPMC and PSC. Think of all the services and support that the people of Pittsburgh pay for with "non-profits" that are having record breaking profits--all while raising prices, fees, medical bills and tuition. Most academics and administrators have always felt seperate from their community, carrying that over to their students.

Oh and I never held the belief that the universities and colleges were not economic and innovative engines in their own right, just that you need to realize those are taxpayer dollars of Pennsylvanians making Pitt so great and smart and equipped, grant money from the sweat and blood of Pittsburgh steel workers and glass/oil/aluminium workers that went into founding and flourishing CMU, Duquesne as well to a lesser degree. The city needs those universities as much as those universities need the city. Just wish more professors and administrators would come to the table on that as has been happening lately.

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PGHUSA,

"First most kids at private colleges and universities tend to be spoiled when compared to the average working stiff out there--in Palo Alto or Boston or Austin or Pittsburgh."

That is a horrible stereotype. Majority of students today at private colleges and universities are on financial aid. Which also means a hefty percentage are working and studying. Just because you see maybe at most one in five students driving around in their beemer that dad bought them does not mean everyone else is like them.

I also resent your implication that to obtain higher education means you no longer work as hard as "blue collar" workers. Today's economy is an information economy that requires individuals, who want to have stable jobs, to use their brains as much as their bodies to succeed in the workforce. In fact, I would argue that certain white collar jobs suck the life right out of you more than blue collar jobs. There is no more five day/eight hour a day work weeks anymore. With technology we are all working 24/7.

"Think of all the services and support that the people of Pittsburgh pay for with "non-profits" that are having record breaking profits--all while raising prices, fees, medical bills and tuition."

You can't be a non-profit and make a profit. Do you realize that with most non-profits, they have endowments that in the end help them to make their budget each year. Not one non-profit makes a penny more. They only expand with the help of outside financial contributions.

Have you forgotten that most of the non-profits in Pittsburgh agreed to kick in extra cash during thier distress even though they were under NO LEGAL OBLIGATION to do so. If you tried that in the private sector you might get one in ten to give the city anything.

These institutions are bringing in jobs, money and attention to the city. To ask them to pony up more when they make NO profit just doesn't make sense.

"The city needs those universities as much as those universities need the city. Just wish more professors and administrators would come to the table on that as has been happening lately."

I disagree on this. Most non-profits other than UPMC could pick up and leave within a year. I believe there were rumors about ten years ago that CMU was thinking of leaving. If it happened with the steel industry why don't you think it will happen with the non-profits.

In ending, I think you need to let go of this grudge and perception of the "hard working" people and how if you are not one of them, you don't work as hard or deserve respect. If you want to see this city grow and actually become something, you need to let go of that notion because the path we are on is attracting those supposes "spoiled" kids to this city to work and live. Our future survival depends on it.

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Balist, some very passionate points there,

Let's step back for a moment and see the forest from the trees, if its such a GREAT deal that Pittsburgh has here we should naturally want to grow this as fast and as big as possible. Grow this non-profit, university community by 500% over the next 10 years would Pittsburgh be better off or worse off?

Their 500% increased consumption of services and land would pay nothing in taxes, contribute to the economy and the surrounding community much much less then would other organizations both for profit and not-for profit, and it is a wildcard wether all the innovations and industry they give birth to even stays here after all the Pennsylvania taxpayer money and local charity and grant money that pours into these institutions (see Lycos).

The whole not-for-profit thing is dated, it does NOT fit a 21st century economy just as you so pointedly showed how whitecollar is no longer ivory tower work today. UPMC is a money machine, Pitt, CMU and PSC are not far behind at all. Sure they depend on grants, private contributions and TAXPAYER money, all of which once you think about it could go towards funding charity hospitals like the old St. Francis or repairing bridges and schools, or opening up libraries in distressed neighborhoods etc. etc. etc.

The whole point of the traditional non-profit university, and if you blow the dust off the charters of these schools it should have something about it, is that like a church or private school it was to facilitate and enrich the community at little or NO cost. The 21st century does demand much much more intensive R&D and infrastructure costs for top notch institutions but even then these Universities are making a bundle, grants or contributions no matter, it is all either hard-earned taxpayer dollars or contributions that could have gone just as easily to St. Francis and aided the hundreds of thousands uninsured in this region.

I love the universities being here and UPMC and PSC, but to not realize that there are some major problems with non-profits taking over more and more prime taxable commercial property, and employing staff levels comparable to a Fortune 500 company, all while raising fees and tuition and asking for more taxpayer funded aid.

My solution to this would be to have UPMC spun off into a for-profit, as well as Highmark, PSC be more quasi for-profit and for a reasonable tax levy be assesed to CMU and Pitt as well as the others.

This has very little to do with what kid is spoiled and what kid is working his way to a degree, it has much more to do with the administrators and professors. Balist, I was a student on aid and scholarships at a private university 5 years ago, even on my toughest and busiest days I still concede that it was a country club life there. Nothing wrong with that at all, who among us wouldn't want to live that kind of life again, no mortgage, no 401ks, long commutes and school taxes, and a community of "bosses" paid to HELP YOU get ahead and not ones competeing with you actively for assignments or business as in the real world etc. etc. even if we were a poor hungry student on aid.

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I think you both have some good points.

The univeristies contribute a lot to the city, and we would not be the same without them. But at the same time they do take up a lot of real-estate that they don't pay taxes on. I don't know how much Pitt/UPMC contributes voluntarilly but I doubt it is anywhere near what we would collect in property taxes for all that land.

In theory the universities could leave. But I don't think that is likely. To do so would be a huge undertaking, and I don't think I have ever heard of a university picking up and moving to another city. If it has ever happened I think it is quite rare.

I would never want to lose our schools. They are a great part of the community and contribute a lot. But at the same time I do think it is a valid concern that as nonprofits they don't pay property taxes. Every time they expand, that is more land they own. So their success is a double-edged sword. the answer, I think, is consolidation of the city and suburbs. That would provide a broader tax base and spread out the burden more evenly. Everyone benefits from the schools and everyone helps make up for the lost property taxes.

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G, you nailed it consolidation would ease much of this, but even then I would love to see more intergration between Pitt, CMU, Duquesne and the city and communities. Again there are some very great adminstrators and professors who do walk that walk but there are too many that still insulate IMHO.

Balist wrote:

Most non-profits other than UPMC could pick up and leave within a year. I believe there were rumors about ten years ago that CMU was thinking of leaving.

Hammerschlag Hall Casino & Resort? kidding, only kidding :P

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