Ray Griffin was one of a number of local representatives to take part in discussions over the regional 'Action Plan for Jobs' at the Dáil's Business Committee meeting in Waterford this week.
Speaking at the event Dr. Griffin said the region is hemorrhaging young people.
"We have beyond a brain drain at this stage, it's a stampede of our youth out of the region," he said. "Two-thirds of every leaving cert class that go on to higher education leave the region."
He said that there are currently around 6,500 graduate courses available in the South East, but that there are over 13,000 students pursuing degrees.
Professor Griffin believes this will have an impact on the South East, in both the short and long term.
"We'll end up building nursing homes and talking to our grandkids over Skype." he said adding that it's costing Waterford families €140m euro to educate their children outside the region