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November 27. 2012 6:56PM

No deal: USNH needs real reform

The University System of New Hampshire is operating on a budget that has $50 million a year (48 percent) less in state aid than it had just two years ago. To get that money back, it has offered a deal. Alas, it is a bad deal.

As Pamela Diamantis, vice chairman of the board of trustees, told state elected officials on Monday: "With full funding, we will freeze tuition, nearly double financial aid and continue to develop partnerships with employers and the community college system to implement innovative paths to degree completion." That is a paltry offering legislators should reject out of hand.

The tuition freeze is for only two years. Why would taxpayers commit $100 million for a two-year tuition freeze when state community colleges had their state aid cut and still froze tuition?

Partnerships with businesses and community colleges bring in revenue. Universities will pursue them anyway.

Doubling financial aid sounds compassionate. But it allows colleges to justify keeping their sticker prices inflated.

Any restoration of state funding should be contingent upon substantial operating cost reductions and reforms that make the USNH system more competitive, not on feel-good measures designed to avoid deeper changes.


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