This paper investigates why Greek high school students aspire to emigrate, in relation to their educational and socio-economic background. Through fieldwork research conducted at three specialist high schools in Thessaloniki, three main conclusions have been drawn. Firstly, potential emigrants are ambitious, with high educational and professional expectations and a clear migration plan. Secondly, they are middle andupper middle class and excel at school—in socio-economic and educational terms, they therefore constitute the most dynamic Greek youths. Thirdly, in a period of recession on a European level, the alarming fact is that student emigration can undermine recovery for a country in crisis such as Greece. That is, middle-class shrinkage caused by the recession can be aggravated by emigration, which in turn might cost the loss of developmental human resources for Greece and a deepening of the recession. This can further stimulate migration, resulting in a vicious circle between crisis and emigration. Furthermore, if potential emigrants do not return because temporary emigration for studies becomes permanent migration for work, the economic crisis is worsened, and Greece’s prospects for development are further undermined.