How Colleges and College Towns Are Teaming Up

When you think of the University of Notre Dame, surely one of the most well-known names in American higher education, how quickly can you name the town it resides in? The answer is South Bend, Indiana. Now another question: what do you imagine the relationship between colleges and college towns themselves is like?

The answer is, not historically good. So says 15-year Notre Dame President John Affleck-Graves in an August edition of U.S. News & World Report. But times are changing. Area business owners and Notre Dame students and faculty are teaming up in an innovation lab that develops technology for jet engines and power plants.

It’s easy to lump places like South Bend into what are derogatorily known as the Rust Belt. But having a star-powered campus in your midst, as MIT professor John Van Reenen found in a 2016 study, can benefit the struggling regions of the country.

“Students are more likely to come from the surrounding area,” the article reports, “and more likely to stay once they graduate.”

In South Bend, Notre Dame led the development of a forlorn area of South Bend (the city once hosted the Studebaker auto factory, closed since 1963) into the Eddy Street Commons. The key is collaboration.

You don’t need to be a coastal city like New York, Boston, or San Francisco to lure in talent and resources. Though small towns have understandably fallen behind, as a 2018 report by the Brookings Institution demonstrated, small college towns have fared differently. Mark Muro, policy director at Brookings and co-author of the report says that the major universities like Notre Dame offer two major sources of capital: financial and human.

And a 2016 report by Brookings written for the Wall Street Journal found that of 16 regions that lost manufacturing jobs but maintained overall job growth, half were major university towns.

The question is this: is your college situated in this way? And how do you attract, at the very least, the human capital — in short, the talent?

This is where Capture Higher Ed’s interest resides. Our answer is to use the technology we’ve created to ensure that this capital arrives on your campus. How do we do that? Using Capture’s Behavioral Intelligence Platform. How does it work? Contact us. We’ll be happy to explain. And once the right students for you are there, you may find yourself situated to keep those students there, in your geographical region, to help maintain that growth.

By Sean Hill, Senior Content Writer, Capture Higher Ed