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NH tuition: Community colleges lead the way

College tuition is going up in many places, but not New Hampshire. Can we make this a permanent trend?

State Community College System Chancellor Ross Gittell announced this month that tuition for the next academic year would be 5 percent lower than this year. A full-time, 12-credit course load per semester will cost $4,800 a year, down $240 from last year.

Last year, the system froze tuition after receiving a 25 percent funding increase from the state. Some will say that the key to keeping tuition in check is to continue raising state subsidies. But the community college system was freezing tuition for years before last year's funding increase, and funding, like tuition, cannot always rise.

Gittell shows what can be done when an administration's priorities are right.

He has dedicated the community college system to serving rural students and communities as cheaply as possible. He is gearing class offerings to the needs of the various regions of the state. He is giving students reasons to stay here, businesses reasons to move here, and taxpayers reasons to be happy with how their money is spent.

The University System of New Hampshire also got a significant state funding increase last year.

In exchange, the system froze tuition for two years. Will USNH students ever see a tuition cut?

Gittell is putting the pressure on.


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