Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Philadelphia Republicans Need Our Help (Although Greater Knowledge Might Turn Them into Democrats)

There should be a state university in Philadelphia. Philadelphia has many private colleges. Yet, these private colleges all cost more to attend than do state system colleges. Further, the Philadelphia private college all have above average admissions criteria. It is possible that a Philadelphian could apply and qualify for acceptance to a state system college. Yet, for most Philadelphians, this would require residing at the school as there is no state college within Philadelphia, whereupon the added costs of room and board result in making college unaffordable to many.

The result is there is a large underserved market within Philadelphia of people who would like to attend college but either cannot afford to do so. Many of these would be willing to commute to attend college yet cannot either gain admissions or have the resources to so attend our expensive private universities. This explains why Philadelphia is 92nd of the 100 largest cities in percent of residents who are college educated.

This lack of college educated residents creates a long term negative impact to Philadelphia. Only 14% of Philadelphians have a college degree. In addition, there are many Philadelphians who have completed some college, in particular community college, but their education ends there. Many Philadelphians would benefit if they had access to a four year college education. Most college graduates earn significantly more money.

Philadelphia would benefit, as a more skilled labor force would attract more employers. With more people employed at higher wages, and with Philadelphians spending more money, the Philadelphia economy would grow, which would likely create a multiplier effect bringing in still more residents and more employers. This increase in higher waged residents would improve the tax base for Philadelphia and benefit city services.

Except for some rural areas and for Philadelphia, most Pennsylvanians are within commuting distance of a state system college. When it comes to state colleges, Philadelphia is the most neglected section of Pennsylvania. It is time we correct this neglect. We need an affordable state college to be created within Philadelphia that is accessible to commuters. Hopefully, it will soon become a reality.


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