Community Colleges Announce Tuition Freeze

10/01/2015 by Shannon Reid

Berlin, NH  - NH’s community college system trustees today formalized a tuition freeze for the current academic year.  The colleges had promised a freeze based on the level of state funding in the budget, but could not formally adopt the rate until the state budget was enacted.  CCSNH had frozen tuition costs provisionally for the current semester.  The board voted on the freeze at its meeting held today at White Mountains Community College in Berlin.

“We recognize the challenge of college affordability for NH families and are pleased that we were able to work with the Governor and NH Legislature to freeze tuition,” said CCSNH chancellor Ross Gittell.  “NH’s community colleges offer a high-quality education, and pathways to four-year colleges and to skilled and high-demand careers.  Making sure NH students can afford postsecondary education is an essential part of our mission to support a strong economy and help NH residents advance,” said Gittell.

“Employers need a well-educated population in order to have the workforce to grow, and remain in New Hampshire,” said Jeremy Hitchcock, founder and CEO of Dyn, a Manchester-based Internet performance company and a CCSNH trustee. “NH’s community colleges are essential to a strong economic future for this state. I applaud the efforts made by many in the legislature and at CCSNH to ensure these colleges remain affordable as they continue to deliver a high-quality education in cutting-edge fields.” 

Governor Hassan said, “Ensuring that all of our people have access to affordable higher education is critical to helping our workers develop the skills and critical thinking needed for success in the 21st century innovation economy and to attracting and retaining more young people here in New Hampshire. We took an important step toward that goal with a tuition freeze in 2013 and a tuition reduction last year, and I applaud the leadership of the Community College System of New Hampshire for this year’s freeze and continued commitment to the success of our students.  Our community colleges are a leader in modernizing and innovating, partnering with the business community to ensure that programs meet their needs, developing nimble and cutting-edge programs and offering more online education options. These efforts are helping develop a stronger workforce pipeline that can help existing businesses grow and attract new companies to our state. I am grateful that the community college system continues its efforts to make higher education more affordable, and I look forward to continuing to work with the higher education community, businesses, and legislators from both parties to do even more to hold down the cost of higher education,” the Governor said.

“At Great Bay we want to make sure that students and their families continue to benefit from a pathway that offers quality and affordability,” said Will Arvelo, president of Great Bay Community College. “This will ensure that we retain graduates with minimal to no debt who can be counted on to support local industry. This, in-turn, will help our economy remain strong.”

In-state tuition will remain at $200/credit, or $600 for a 3-credit course.  This brings the annual in-state tuition cost of full-time attendance at one of NH’s community colleges to $4,800-$6,000, depending on 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, Gittell said. 

The community college system has not raised tuition since 2012.  Last year the community colleges reduced tuition by 5 percent thanks to tuition reduction support in the previous state budget. 

Paul Holloway, chairman of the board of trustees of the community college system, highlighted efforts underway throughout the system to support New Hampshire’s economy, enhance their focus on preparing more New Hampshire residents with 21st century skills, and provide affordable educational pathways.  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 credential by 2025, which aligns with labor market data on educational needs to support a strong NH economy.  NH is presently at 51 percent, and CCSNH and state leaders agree NH needs more young people to stay in NH for college and career.  The 65 by 25 goal was recently adopted by the NH Coalition for Business and Education.

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 recently announced a new “Dual Admission” partnership with the University System of NH 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 collesg and baccalaureate-granting institutions.

Gittell encouraged interested NH students to contact their local community college for more information about the affordable programs offered across the state.  Many of the colleges offer 8-week courses that students can still register for this fall, and a new semester begins in January.

About CCSNH:  The Community College System of NH consists of seven colleges, offering associate degree and certificate programs, professional training, transfer pathways to four-year degrees, and dual-credit partnerships with NH high schools. The System’s colleges are Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth and Rochester; Lakes Region Community College in Laconia; Manchester Community College; Nashua Community College; NHTI – Concord’s Community College; River Valley Community College in Claremont and Keene (opening in Lebanon in 2016); and White Mountains Community College in Berlin and Littleton. 

Contact:  Shannon Reid, (603) 568-5599 or sreid@ccsnh.edu