Regarding the story “UConn puts dollar signs on its impact,” in the Jan. 23 issue of The Sun, I applaud the analysis, suggesting that the educational investment we make in our colleges actually has a significant return. The aspect that was not included was what it would cost the state to not have these institutions, a different calculation entirely. Imagine if UConn’s 32,000 students paid their tuition and board fees to bordering states. Upon graduation, a significant number of them would also be looking for employment in those other states. Connecticut’s businesses would have to rely entirely on adjoining states for an educated workforce. California and Massachusetts’ economic robustness stems largely from their vastness of their educational opportunities. UConn’s return on investment goes far beyond the direct product and services income that it generates.
In part, since we are in effect in competition with every other state, a robust secondary educational network is as essential as any infrastructure investment. It is not so much a calculation of what we might need, but what we can’t live without.