Seattle Times Editorial: Northeastern’s branch campus a welcome addition

A Seattle branch campus for Northeastern University offers welcome help boosting the ranks of residents with graduate degrees.

By Seattle Times Editorial

Northeastern University’s expansion into Seattle is noteworthy, chiefly for its potential to broaden the pipeline of local talent in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

A branch campus thousands of miles from Northeastern’s Boston roots is an astute read of this area’s labor needs.

The private, nonprofit university’s plan to offer only graduate-degree programs in Seattle fills a niche for industries looking for employees with advanced degrees. The Puget Sound region has one of the largest concentrations of residents with bachelor’s degrees, but only 13 percent of local professionals have graduate degrees.

This region does not measure up well against the rest of the country. In 2008, Washington ranked 42nd among all states in advanced-degree production — 8.4 graduate degrees per 1,000 residents. But the national average is 12.8 such degrees per 1,000 residents.

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