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Biz Bits: Out-of-state students give state population boost

Biz Bits: Out-of-state students give state population boost


My colleague Chris Dunker wrote an excellent data-driven story earlier this month looking at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's recruitment of out-of-state students.

It found that the university has increased its focus on out-of-state students, especially in certain areas, and that the efforts have appeared to be successful, with the number of nonresident students attending UNL growing 23%.

So why do I care? And why should you?

Because, according to a study from the Federal Reserve, UNL and other colleges attract a lot of young people to the state.

The study, from the Omaha Branch of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank, found that in 2016 and 2017, Nebraska had about 12,600 more people age 16-24 move into the state than move out.

The study attributed that growth largely to students moving here to go to college, noting that the number of college students coming to Nebraska grew by 22% from 2010-16 compared with the previous decade.

While those students traditionally leave Nebraska once they graduate, with the state averaging a loss of about 1,500 graduates per year since 2000, the trend reversed in 2017, with the state adding about 2,000 recent graduates.

The study also noted that many natives, as well as those who come here to attend college, might leave but eventually move back here when they are in their 30s and 40s.

The study notes that bringing young people here for school and retaining them after graduation is a good way to help deal with the state's workforce shortage. It's definitely something that should be on the minds of policymakers when they consider the university's budget.

To read the full study, go to:

Seeds of discontent for farmers

If bad weather, low commodity prices and trade fights weren't enough bad news for Nebraska farmers, Farmers Business Network has more bad news.

According to a report released this month by the ag data company, Nebraska farmers pay more than those in any other state for corn and soybean seed, more than $150 a bag.

The report compiled more than 33,000 seed price records from 41 states between 2010 and 2019.

According to the report, the price of seed can vary greatly depending on where a farmer lives, with price differences of $100 per bag for corn and $40 per bag for soybeans common.

The report shows that Pioneer seeds have the most price variance in Nebraska for both corn and soybeans, but they are not the most expensive overall. That honor goes to Channel for corn and Fontanelle for soybeans.

You can download a copy of the report at the Farmers Business Network website,

Low loan defaults

Nebraska has some of the lowest student loan default numbers in the country, according to a report released last week.

The report from LendEDU, a website that offers financial product comparisons, showed that Nebraska had the fifth-lowest rate of student loan defaults based on 2016 data.

According to the report, there were 31,046 people in the state that year with student loan payments, and 2,115 were in default, for a default rate of 7.31%. Only Massachusetts, Vermont, North Dakota and Rhode Island had lower rates.

Nebraska ranks much better than its neighbors, which came in anywhere from 24th (Missouri) to 42nd (Kansas).

See the full report at:

Listing the lists

Regular readers of this column know I sometimes like to end it with a rundown of recent rankings of Lincoln and/or Nebraska in national reports. Here are the latest ones:

* Third best city for young professionals (GoBankingRates)

Go to to read more Biz Buzz posts.

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Business reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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