By Barbara Tetreault
BERLIN — Tuition at the state’s community colleges, including White Mountains Community College, has increased by $10 a credit for the 2017-18 academic year. But college system officials are quick to point out tuition had actually decreased over the past five years, and it is now back to the 2012 level.
Community College System of N.H. spokeswoman Shannon Reid said the system has not increased tuition since 2012 and actually reduced the per-credit cost by $10 starting with the 2015 academic year. This May the board of trustees approved increasing the cost per credit from $200 to $210.
Reid said tuition for a three-credit course will now be $630. For a full-time load of 30 credits per year, students will pay $6,300 — an increase of $300.
“Even though $30 per course may sound modest, we don’t take any increase lightly. That’s why we worked very hard to have five consecutive years with no increase. New Hampshire was the only community college system in New England with a net reduction in tuition since 2012,” said Reid.
She said the system is pleased that money was included in the state budget for scholarships for New Hampshire students as part of the “Governor’s Scholarship Program." Overall, the legislature approved $10 million for the program, which will assist high school students attending colleges, universities and workforce training programs in New Hampshire. Reid said details of the scholarships are still be finalized by the Department of Education and the Office of Strategic Initiatives, but it will be need-based. Funding through the program will also be available to high school students taking dual and concurrent credit courses in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields through the community colleges’ Running Start and Early College programs. That is scheduled to a launch in 2018.
Reid said the college system is also working very closely with N.H. employers on pathways from education to careers as well as continuing to make it easy for students to transfer from community colleges to four-year colleges to earn a bachelor’s degree. She said they are continuing to offer the DualNH program — a single application and seamless transition from any of N.H.'s community colleges into a liberal arts program in the university system.
Relatively new developments include the Sector Partnership Initiative, which is focused on advanced manufacturing, IT and health care; and a grant to develop new registered apprenticeship programs.