The head of the New Hampshire Community College System says schools could lower tuition if lawmakers can boost funding in the next two-year budget.
Chancellor Ross Gittell says if the state provides another $3 million beyond restoring cuts made in the last budget, that money would be used to reduce tuition by an average of 5 percent.
At a minimum, Gittell is urging lawmakers to restore the 20 percent cut in funding to the community college system.
To offset the loss in funding, community colleges increased tuition by nearly 8 percent in 2011. Tuition was frozen last year.
The state’s seven community colleges serve roughly 27,000 students, a figure that has doubled in the past decade.
“The demand is there, the opportunity to serve the state is there, but we can’t continue to meet that need of industry and students without the state restoring the funding that it cut back during the last budget cycle.”
Lawmakers are in the early stages of crafting a new budget. The community college system is one of seven state agencies going before the House Finance Committee on Tuesday.