Ryan Lessard for NHPR

The University of New Hampshire's Manchester campus will move into a new building next spring as it begins offering new programs in science and technology.

The campus will move from its current location on Commercial Street into the historic and renovated Pandora Mill building in March.

The building sat vacant with trees growing from its rooftop for decades before the restoration efforts began several years ago.

Melanie Holtsman / Flickr CC

The New Hampshire Department of Education has rejected the Manchester School District’s request to opt-out of a new standardized test to be given this spring. In a letter to the school district, Education Commissioner Virginia Barry writes that if Manchester doesn’t administer the Smarter Balanced exam, it could lose nearly $17 million in federal education funds.

The Portland Public School Department plans to launch an online program this year. The district is trying to get a slice of the virtual school pie as it faces competition for students — and funding. But some educators remain skeptical of yet another online option. Portland officials say it's an important — and innovative — option for students.

The first day of school is a busy one for Portland Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk. He rides his bike to district schools to personally welcome students back.

NHPR Staff

A unanimous New Hampshire Supreme Court ruling out today says a controversial school choice program will once again be able to give tax-credit-funded scholarships to religious schools, but today’s ruling is far from the final word.

Under the Education Tax Credit, companies can give donations for scholarships, and claim 85 percent off their business taxes. Scholarship organizations use those donations to give money to students who want to change to private school, a different public school, or homeschool.

USDA / Flickr CC

The Manchester School Board voted Monday night not to apply for a new federal program that provides free breakfast and lunch to all students, but the state’s largest city is not alone in opting out of the program.

Any school where forty percent of students receive food stamps (SNAP), or temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) is eligible for a USDA program which began in 2010, but was only expanded to New Hampshire this year. It ensures that every student is fed breakfast and lunch.

But there’s a catch.

Four New Charter Schools Set To Open In New Hampshire

Aug 25, 2014
Mountain Village Charter School

Most students across New Hampshire return to school this week, including students at Mountain Village Charter School in Plymouth. The school is one of the state’s four new charter schools opening this fall.

The actual building for Mountain Village Charter School is still under construction. So for the first week, the school’s 38 elementary students will be outside.

Teachers lead the students through a Swahili song and have them bark like dogs - mostly as a way to start the school year on a fun note.

Plymouth State Drops SAT And ACT Scores For Applicants

Aug 22, 2014

Students applying to Plymouth State University will no longer be required to submit SAT and ACT scores.

The University has decided to step away from the standardized tests, and put more emphasis on a student's high school GPA. Andrew Palumbo, Plymouth's Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Management, says the GPA is simply a better measure of how prepared a student is for college.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

The president of Franklin Pierce University is resigning.

James Birge says he’ll step down next year, no later than June 15.

He’s been the head of the university in Rindge for six years, and is the school’s fourth president.

“I am proud of the accomplishments at Franklin Pierce and excited about its future because of these achievements,” Birge said. “As I reflected on these accomplishments and we begin to establish and implement additional changes at the University, I realized it is a good time to move on to allow new leadership to take on the new challenges.”

Plymouth State University

The president of Plymouth State University is stepping down.

Sara Jayne Steen has been president of the university for nine years, and says she will step down from the post in June of next year.

In a message to staff, Steen says this will allow her time for other academic pursuits and to travel with her husband.

Steen is also vice chair of the New Hampshire Higher Education Commission and on the executive committee of the New Hampshire College and University Council.

The University System Board will begin a national search for a new president this fall.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

The end of the school year in Nashua marks the end of the line for an after school program that organizers say was vital for the city’s middle school students.

Baker Memorial Library
Flickr Creative Commons

The Dartmouth College alumna who is the creative force behind TV shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” returned to her alma mater to give Sunday’s commencement speech.  Shonda Rhimes spent much of her speech talking about the practical realities of daily life.  She also derided commencement speakers who tell students to dream big.

US Army Corp of Engineers / Flickr CC

There’s a database in New Hampshire, nestled in hard-drives in the Department of Education, with all sorts of information about student test scores, graduation rates, and achievement. It shows how poor kids do on tests compared to rich kids, and how minorities do compared to whites, and whether schools are improving on those tests.

Whenever the data in it is accessed, it’s totally anonymous; only a handful of employees at the DOE can match these test-scores with student names.

The president of the University of New Hampshire wants to hold the line on tuition costs for at least another two years.

NHPR Staff

Former Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, John Broderick, will step down as dean of the UNH law school.

Broderick will become the first executive director for the Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership and Public policy, which opened last year.

The Rudman Center, which is part of the UNH law school, seeks to provide leadership training and foment commitment to public service.

  The week started with the news of Southern New Hampshire University’s new $10,000 bachelor’s degree program. Recent undergraduate enrollment numbers show the small, Manchester school is now equal in size to UNH in Durham, with a vast majority of its students online. 

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

At a recent cookout behind the red-brick mill building that houses UNH Manchester, senior Derek Burkhardt describes what’s been an eight-year run to get his bachelor’s.

“I actually attended UNH Manchester right out of high school,” says Burkhardt. “But I took some time off in between school to save up some money to be able to afford school, but also to join AmeriCorps. So once I was done with that I came back to continue my education.”

Like many students here Burkhardt says he chose UNH Manchester because that’s where he lives.

Allison Quantz for NHPR

Susy Struble was a 16-year-old high school student when, during a weekend visit to Dartmouth College, she was raped at an off-campus party.

Like many rape victims, Struble chose not to tell anyone about the assault, and two years later, she was back at Dartmouth as a student.

One night during her freshman year, she opened her door to a tall, sandy-haired man. Obviously drunk, he forced his way in, pushed Struble against the wall and tried to kiss her. Struble was able to fend off her attacker, who she realized was the same man who had raped her two years earlier.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

If it seems like, these days, everyone is talking about STEM - that now common acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math programs - it's because they are.

In this animated two-way, we take a look at what the push for STEM means for the state - from our public university system, to the State House, and through the business community - and for students.

College Board /

Rising tuition attracts a lot of headlines, but the amount that schools give out in financial aid is also on the rise.  Financial aid can make higher education more accessible to low-income students, but it can also serve as a tool to attract the types of students school want to attract, and to fill seats that might otherwise go empty. Lucy Lapovsky is an education consultant who has studied the question of how much students are actually paying for college and spoke to All Things Considered Host Brady Carlson. 

Some of the troubles plaguing higher education are hitting institutions a lot harder in New Hampshire. High public tuition? We have the highest. State aid to public universities? We have among the lowest. For many students, that means they're facing huge debts which will be difficult to repay. That reality is causing students and institutions to reevaluate.

Colleges See Summer As Potential Revenue Source

May 6, 2014
Todd Bookman / NHPR

The men of Dartmouth were treated to a heroes’ welcome each fall.

“October, 1947, and the campus is rejuvenated after the slow, sleepy quiescence of the summer weeks,” reads the stoic narrator of an old film reel. “The college town of Hanover throbs excitedly with new life.”

Hanover has been throbbing year-round since the 1970s, though, when Dartmouth became the last Ivy League to accept women.

@BillDuncan / Twitter

  Gov. Maggie Hassan's nomination of longtime education activist Bill Duncan to the New Hampshire Board of Education is drawing fire from supporters of charter schools and an education tax credit law.

Senate Republican Leader Jeb Bradley says Monday that Duncan can't serve as an unbiased administrator of programs he spent years trying to dismantle. Duncan is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the business tax credit that gives scholarships to students who attend private and religious schools.

Southern New Hampshire University is launching a new bachelor’s degree program that will cost students $10,000 in total.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Research at big universities is expensive, and the price tag is rising. At the same time securing money for research is getting harder as more and more academics are competing for research grants that are less and less generous. This raises a question: are universities that do research more likely to raise tuition.

Pigeonpie via Flickr Creative Commons


New Hampshire's overall high school graduation far exceeds the national average, but it ranks in the middle when it comes to low-income students.

Kyle Todesca, UNH

Senate lawmakers are considering a bill that would grant in-state tuition at University System of New Hampshire schools to children of undocumented immigrants.

NHPR Staff

 A program that allows businesses to claim an 85% tax credit for donations made to private school  scholarship organizations had its day before the State Supreme Court Wednesday.

A lower court ruled last year that it would be unconstitutional for the program to give scholarships to private schools, because the tax credits amount to public dollars.

The state’s seven community colleges will cut tuition by 5 percent next year.

Ben McCleod via Flickr CC

The New Hampshire Supreme Court will hear arguments today on whether it’s constitutional to give tax credits to businesses that donate to private scholarship funds. The program in question has been hamstrung by a lower court ruling.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

The organizers of several charter schools opening this fall in New Hampshire say they’ve learned the hard way that finding a location is easier said than done.