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The Chronicle of Higher Education

Why a Rural-Serving College May Look Different Than You Think

February 1, 2022 1-minute read
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Article from the chronicle of higher ed screen caputreIt used to be easier to tell which colleges served rural communities. Just rewind to the birth of land-grant universities, non-urban campuses that specialized in teaching skills that rural areas needed, like agricultural and technical training.

Fast forward a century and a half, and things are more complicated. College-going students are much more mobile, and some of those same land-grant institutions have since helped urbanize their communities. In short, gauging whether a college serves rural students is more complicated than simply charting its coordinates.

That can impede conversations about how to educate rural parts of the country. A group of researchers has come up with a metric they say provides a helpful scale for classifying whether a campus is rural serving.

The metric, the result of a year of work by the Alliance for Research on Regional Colleges, identifies over 1,000 institutions that can be classified as rural-serving, and which currently educate nearly five million students.

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