New Hampshire’s Community Colleges Announce Tuition Freeze
Fact: The average amount of debt that college students will have after graduation has increased nearly $25,000 in the past 22 years.
In a world where college tuition is on the rise and graduates are drowning in an increasing amount of debt, the Community College System of New Hampshire stands out with its commitment to providing an affordable college experience that will not leave its alumni with a lifetime of debt.
That was reaffirmed on Thursday, June 2 at the River Valley Community College’s Lebanon Academic Center when the Board of Trustees of the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) voted to freeze tuition for the 2016-2017 academic year.
The community college system has not raised tuition since 2011 and, in fact, reduced tuition by five percent in 2014.
According to CCSNH Chancellor Ross Gittell, in-state tuition will remain at $200 per credit, $600 for a 3-credit course. This brings the annual in-state tuition cost of full-time attendance at one of New Hampshire’s community colleges to $4,800-$6,000, depending on the course load. By starting at a community college, students can save thousands of dollars from the cost of a four-year education, while many community college graduates proceed directly to employment in high-demand fields.
Paul Holloway, chairman of the CCSNH board of trustees, reflected on the importance of the board’s latest decision.
“New Hampshire’s economy depends on the skill level of its population and on providing access to affordable post-secondary educational opportunities,” Holloway said following the vote. “We want our state residents to find those opportunities here in their home state.”
The move was quickly endorsed by New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan.
“Our community colleges are nationally recognized for the value they provide to their students, and continue to lead in modernizing and innovating in higher education,” Governor Hassan said in a statement following the board’s vote. “Through partnerships with the business community, nimble and cutting-edge programs and extensive online education options, their efforts are helping develop a stronger workforce pipeline that can help existing businesses grow and attract new companies to our state.
“After reducing in-state tuition in 2014 and freezing in-state tuition in 2015 and again in 2016, the Community College System of New Hampshire has been constant in its dedication to accessible and affordable higher education, and I am grateful for their unyielding commitment to the success of our students and our state.”
The community college system is working toward a “65 by 25” goal of having 65 percent of the adults in the state with some post-secondary education by 2025, which aligns with labor market data on educational needs to support a strong New Hampshire economy. New Hampshire is presently at 51 percent, and CCSNH and state leaders agree New Hampshire needs more young people to stay in NH for college and career.
New Hampshire’s community colleges offer two-year associate degree programs and short-term certificate programs in a wide variety of career fields linked to industry sectors with strong labor market demand including information technology, health care, business, advanced manufacturing, hospitality, education, public safety and more.
The community colleges announced a new “Dual Admission” partnership with the University System of NH in 2015, enabling students to seamlessly move into UNH, Plymouth, Keene State or Granite State College after earning an associate degree (information is available at www.dualnh.com ). This new pathway joins many other transfer partnerships between the community college and baccalaureate-granting institutions.