December 2018

It’s important for the state to attract out-of-state students, given that many Minnesota high school students leave to go to college in other states. Minnesota Private Colleges are a strong draw for students from elsewhere in the nation — and many choose to stay here when they graduate.

The 17 member institutions of the Minnesota Private College Council draw 10,700 out-of-state students to Minnesota, more than University of Minnesota or Minnesota State. Seventy-one percent of the class of 2016 stayed in Minnesota after graduating. And with labor shortages only expected to grow, the presence of these future workers is important to the state.

Consider Macalester College, which brings students from around the country and the world to Minnesota; its students represent all 50 states and 90 countries. “We have a high percent of our alumni staying in Minnesota,” said Katie Ladas, executive director of alumni engagement at Macalester. “Many stay right here in St. Paul.”

Minnesota Private College alumni participate in every sector of the economy. “At Macalester 56 percent of our 2017 graduates are working in the private sector, 19 percent are in non-profits and 17 percent are in education,” said Ladas.

These out-of-state students are important for campus life, as well as the future workforce. “Macalester works hard to have a diverse campus,” Ladas said. “These students bring new ideas, new cultures and new perspectives. And when they decide to stay in Minnesota they offer the same things to the larger community.”

A 2011 graduate of St. Olaf College and a native of Iowa, Ben Langholz decided to make Minnesota his home. “As a health care consultant I am really able to live anywhere,” Langholz said. “But my network and community from St. Olaf was strong in Minnesota, so I decide to live here.”

Not only did St. Olaf’s network keep Langholz in Minnesota, St. Olaf also provided the right education for him to be successful. “At St. Olaf we learned alongside all different types of people,” Langholz said. “Classes had people from different majors and backgrounds. Now I use those skills to collaborate and problem solve with all sorts of people.”

Staying in Minnesota has helped Langholz realize the full value of his education. “It’s interesting, I run into doctors and surgeons who say ‘Hey, I majored in history at St. Olaf’,” Langholz said. “You realize just how strong the network and the education really are.”

For more examples of the experiences of out-of-state students who have chosen to make their homes in Minnesota, see our companion alumni spotlight piece.

By Tom Lancaster