Using data gathered from students attending Southeast Community and Technical College in Harlan County, Kentucky, this article discusses how a commitment to place informs and shapes rural students’ decisions around post-secondary education, career, and residence. Though some students connected advanced education with rural outmigration, other students discussed their post-secondary training in relation to local contexts, connecting their education to improved quality of life, both for their families and their rural communities. Their narratives regarding the purpose and application of higher education in Central Appalachia add to the continuing discussion of rural students’ rationales to stay or leave their home communities, and by what means they achieve these ends. While some students applied their advanced degrees towards transfer out of the area, others used their degrees towards local transformative ends. By highlighting Labaree’s (1997) conception of the citizenry ends of education, this study complicates Corbett (2007) and other studies that attach advanced degree attainment with rural outmigration.