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A Shrinking Kansas Town Pins Its Hopes for Growth on the Promise of Free Tuition

Over the next few decades, teenagers in the town of Neodesha, population 2,300, will benefit from a wealthy donor who has pledged to cover their college tuition. (Photo by Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service)

Life just changed for students in the small southeast Kansas town of Neodesha.  A wealthy alumnus will pay tuition for local students to attend college. He says wants to save his small, shrinking hometown. But as Celia Llopis-Jepsen of the Kansas News Service reports, it won’t be easy.

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The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of public radio stations, including Kansas Public Radio, KCUR, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio -- dedicated to reporting on the health and well-being of Kansans their communities and civic life. Learn more at

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