Community Colleges Hold the Line on Tuition
Tuition at the State’s seven community colleges will not increase for the 2012-13 academic year, in a decision reached by the Board of Trustees on May 29.
“In today’s economic climate, with the needs facing New Hampshire for a highly-skilled workforce to attract businesses and spur job growth, access to education and training for New Hampshire residents is essential,” said Ross Gittell, CCSNH Chancellor. “The community colleges are unique in that they provide opportunity and access for people in every region of the state, of all ages, backgrounds and aspirations, and through programs that are aligned with the economy. By keeping community colleges affordable, we enable continued opportunities for New Hampshire residents to gain education and skills, improve their lives and employment prospects, and support economic growth in the State. We believe it is very important to keep New Hampshire’s community colleges as affordable as possible.”
This is the third year since 2006 that the community colleges have not increased tuition. The decision comes despite last year’s cut in state funding to CCSNH of nearly 20 percent. CCSNH took measures to lower costs and expenses, and develop alternate sources of funds through partnerships and grants. In approving the tuition level for 2012-13, trustees sounded a strong note of caution about the long-term effects of reductions of state support for higher education.
“The community colleges in New Hampshire are serving historically high numbers of students, and ninety-five percent of them are New Hampshire residents,” said Paul Holloway, Chairman of the CCSNH Board of Trustees and owner of the Holloway Automotive Group. “Higher education is an investment the State needs to make in its workforce and its future if New Hampshire is to remain competitively positioned in a regional, national and global economy. ”
System officials say that high tuition leads many students to take fewer courses, increasing the time it takes to earn a degree. The community colleges are focusing on strategies that help students stay in college and meet their educational goals, but emphasize that affordability is a major factor.
One trend Gittell sees is growth in online courses, which offer greater flexibility of scheduling and convenience for students who often face the demands of jobs and family. “Over the last five years we have seen enrollment in online courses increase by 64 percent,” Gittell said. “The convenience and quality of online courses is a strong selling point. The community colleges offer more than 700 online courses each year.” Gittell said the content and richness of resources that are part of online course offerings are surprising to many who are unfamiliar with online learning, but that growth in this area is linked to increasing student demand and research showing the quality of online education.
In-state tuition will remain at $210 per credit, or $630 for a 3-credit course. Annually, a community college student will pay $5,040 in tuition for a minimum full-time course load. Room and board at NHTI-Concord’s Community College, which is the only college in the CCSNH with residence halls, will also remain at last year’s levels. Community college courses offered in high schools through the Running Start program, for dual high school and college credit, will remain $150 per course.
Tuition for the New England Regional Student Program remains $315 per credit, and out-of-state tuition is $478 per credit.