By Devon Miller

Who would want to leave the beautiful state of Oregon; a place that has nothing but cloudy skies and puddles, to pursue their college education after high school? Apparently, not many of the valedictorians from the Class of 2016.

Only three out of the 12 top students at our school decided to venture out-of-state to earn their degrees. This is very unusual because, in years, past these were usually the type of students who wound up at Ivy League schools or other highly selective universities.

Over the past couple of decades, the academic standards for students have drastically increased and so has the tuition, which is why the decision to remain in-state to receive their post-secondary education makes sense. The nine students that decided to stay in Oregon most likely did so because they wanted to take full advantage of all of the benefits that they could procure from being an undergraduate student in the state of Oregon.

An important factor that they most likely took into consideration was the difference between in-state and out-of-state cost of attendance. For instance, Oregon State University’s (OSU) total cost is $26,620, while Stanford University is around $62,363 annually . That is a difference of $35,743 per year and if these students wanted to earn a bachelor’s degree at OSU they would be saving $142,972 by attending a college in Oregon rather than an out-of-state school like Stanford.

Dual credit from Chemeketa was probably another factor that they considered when choosing a university. The Class of 2016 earned 8,560 credits which saved them $782,470. Many out-state-schools, especially the more selective ones, won’t transfer the credits they earned throughout their high school career.  This is a complete waste of money and time because McMinnville High School has 190 credits that are qualified to be transferred, and if students took advantage of these credits they could possibly start as a junior in college with an Associate of Oregon Transfer Degree through the Chemeketa Community College.

Money was probably the biggest influence in their decisions, no wonder the majority of our top students from the Class of 2016 chose to attend a school in Oregon because they have the benefits of in-state tuition and the opportunity to transfer their credits over from the high school. Additionally, students who choose to stay have the opportunity to meet unique people, see beautiful places in the comfort of their home state, and they might miss Dutch Bros a little too much.