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UNH walks back billing on-campus parents $17,600 per child enrolled in local schools

Union Leader Correspondent

December 05. 2017 3:18PM
UNH students and faculty members from 18 different countries live in Forest Park, a 97-unit apartment complex on campus designated for families. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)

DURHAM — The University of New Hampshire says it is working with town officials so that parents living on campus do not have to pay $17,600 a year per child for local public school tuition.

“We will find a way to ensure that the affected families in Forest Park do not bear this financial burden,” UNH spokesman Erika Mantz said Tuesday.

For decades, UNH has been paying the full Oyster River School District cost of attendance for the children living in Forest Park, the on-campus apartment complex reserved for families.

Two weeks ago, families in the complex were informed by UNH they would be responsible for their children’s entire public school tuition cost, which means their rent would more than double — to about $2,600 per month in the 2018-19 school year for a family with one child and nearly $4,000 per month for parents with two children.

Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig said the rent increases have nothing to do with the town; university officials decided to pass the costs on to families with school-age children, he said.

He said the town has a 10-year binding agreement signed in 2016 with UNH for the per-pupil cost of students living in Forest Park.

Located at 4 Demeritt Circle, Forest Park is reserved for married undergraduate and graduate students with families, as well as staff and faculty with children. Online, UNH Housing promotes it as a 97-unit complex within walking distance of all UNH academic and administrative buildings.

“Our current population hails from more than 18 different countries,” the website says.

There are seven children living at Forest Park who attend Oyster River schools. this year. Six are enrolled for next year.

Selig said the town took the position years ago that the tax-exempt university should pay for Forest Park children’s tuition.

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