To the Editor: I never would have guessed that I would hear a “free college” proposal from a Republican politician. Then I heard about Gov. Chris Sununu’s inaugural speech — and I’m happy to be wrong. With New Hampshire’s student debt climbing , something needed to be done.
The New Hampshire Academy proposal is ingenious : students participate in a program that partners high schools, community colleges, and employers. It’s based on a program that has been successful in Rochester. It would qualify as a charter school, which would qualify for state funding, eliminating the need for students to pay tuition. Students begin earning college credits in high school, and complete a fifth year through the Career Academy to earn their associate degree and some kind of career credential . This provides graduates with a direct and clear path to a local employer or industry at no extra cost to taxpayers.
This addresses many of this state’s urgent concerns, not just with student debt, but the need for a skilled workforce and career paths that don’t require obtaining a bachelor’s degree.
I applaud Gov. Sununu for championing a program that speaks to several of the critical issues facing our state, a creative and bipartisan-friendly approach to “free college.”