John Gregory -- Illinois Radio Network

A new study says Illinois has been losing some of its best students to colleges in other states—and once they leave, they aren’t likely to return.

The Illinois Education Research Council at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville looked at two groups of college graduates from between 2006 and 2010: those who went to out-of-state schools, and those who remained in Illinois.  The council’s Eric Lichtenberger says the study found that most who left didn’t return.

“They’re significantly less likely to come back,” Lichtenberger said, “and what’s even more problematic for the state of Illinois is that those who are earning degrees within the science, engineering, mathematics and technology fields are even less likely to come back.”

Lichtenberger says a possible solution is not just persuading more Illinois students to attend colleges in the state, but attracting more out-of-state students to cover some of the loss due to migration.  He recommends that more public universities in Illinois consider offering in-state tuition to students from neighboring states.