Looking away for college options

Looking away for college options

Staff Writer

Like every year, West Deptford Guidance Director Maureen Boehm expects to see more college-bound students choose to leave Southern New Jersey as they receive acceptance letters in the next few months.

"In general, I think our kids that go to four-year colleges, more of them want to go away rather than commute," Boehm said.

With just three four-year universities in the area -- Rowan University, Stockton College, and Rutgers University-Camden -- school advocates say there just aren't enough options for students who want a four-year degree.

"There's been a concern that New Jersey doesn't have enough state colleges to support the population," Boehm said.

And as New Jersey's high school population grows, the problem is going to get worse. By 2008, about 20,000 more students are expect to graduate high school in the state than in 2000.

"Every year an increasingly larger percentage of high school graduates have college plans," said Paul Shelly, a spokesman for the New Jersey Association of State College and Universities, an advocacy group for the state's public institutions.

Southern New Jersey has about 28 percent of the state's population, but only has 11 percent of the spots for students to attend a four-year institution, said Rowan University President Donald Farish. As students leave the area to attend college, many of them will not return to work here.

"The issue really is: Does New Jersey want to export its most talented students every generation?" Farish said.

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Date Published: Sunday, March 10, 2002 (All day)