Posted: April 16, 2014
Students at Manchester Community College will see lower tuition bills starting with the Fall 2014 academic year.
The Community College System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees today announced a five percent tuition reduction, bringing the in-state per credit cost to $200 from its present level of $210. A three-credit course will cost $600, down from $630. For an in-state student taking a minimum full-time course load of twelve credits per semester, annual tuition costs will drop from $5,040 to $4,800.
The New England regional program rate will be $300 per credit, and the out of state rate will be $455 per credit, down from $315 and $478 respectively. Ninety-five percent of students at New Hampshire’s community colleges are NH residents.
The tuition reduction was announced as New Hampshire's community colleges enhance their focus on preparing more New Hampshire residents with 21st century skills and providing affordable college-to-career pathways. 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, hospitality, engineering technology, education and advanced manufacturing. Additionally, more than half the students who enroll in New Hampshire’s community colleges intend to pursue transfer to a four-year school after earning an associate degree or some number of credits at the community colleges. Making the first two years more affordable will be a boost for students and families and increase the supply of skilled workers available for businesses across the state.
The reduction also came after the Governor and NH Legislature restored funding to the community college system that had been cut in the previous state budget. Paul Holloway, chairman of the board of trustees, said "We committed to the Governor and Legislature that investing in the community colleges would help New Hampshire families and New Hampshire's economy. Last year, we froze tuition. We are reducing tuition for the upcoming year. We have invested in programs like advanced manufacturing and health professions, which helps employers fill high-skilled jobs and strengthens our state's economy. And we focused on innovation and efficiencies that help us achieve our mission more cost effectively for students, families and taxpayers."
"Making higher education more affordable for all of our families is one of my highest priorities as we work to build a stronger workforce that will lead to innovative economic growth," Gov. Hassan said. "I applaud the leadership of the Community College System of New Hampshire for their decision to reduce tuition and their continued commitment to the success of our students. This important step forward for our workforce builds on the progress we made in last year's bipartisan budget to restore investments in higher education in exchange for a tuition freeze."
Ross Gittell, chancellor of the community college system, said that he and system leaders have been modeling a tuition reduction scenario and were ready to announce the reduction now, instead of making a decision in June as in years past. "Reducing tuition and bending the cost curve in higher education helps students and their families fit a college education in their budgets," Gittell said. "Whether students come to the community colleges to train for a career, or as a first step in a four-year college pathway, affordability is essential to their ability to succeed." Gittell highlighted the fact that students with an associate degree earn on average 28 percent more than those with only a high school education in New Hampshire. And students who transfer from a community college to a four-year college do as well as those who start out at a four-year college. Gittell noted that the community colleges and the University System of New Hampshire, as well as other colleges throughout the region, have worked in recent years on making transfers easier.
NH’s community colleges have frozen tuition in 4 of the past 9 years, and system leaders expect today’s announcement to send a strong message to potential students.
Adam Moy, a second-year student at Manchester Community College (MCC) and a student member of the board of trustees, knows how important saving money on tuition can be to his fellow-students. "It may enable someone who is only taking one or two classes at a time to take a heavier course load and graduate sooner," said Moy. "Or a person considering college will see that the community colleges are working hard to keep costs down, and will feel more confident about making the leap and enrolling. As a student I've been very impressed with the quality of the education and the doors that open to community college graduates." Moy, who lives in Manchester, is earning an associate degree in business communications and plans to take advantage of the business degree transfer agreement between MCC and Southern New Hampshire University which allows him to transfer 90 credits, enabling him to complete a bachelor's degree with just one year of university costs.