Higher Education

Why Law Schools Are Facing An Enrollment Problem

Jul 3, 2014
MiraCosta Community College / Flickr Creative Commons

After years of a so-called “lawyer bubble”, with firms expanding rapidly – these days, many new graduates struggle to get a job in the legal profession.  In response, law school enrollment numbers are plummeting, leading some to scale back their operations and many to re-think the best way to deliver that juris doctorate.

GUESTS:

unh.edu

As another academic year closes, our guest today, University of New Hampshire President Mark Huddleston, can look back at a year that was a little easier than 2011, when the legislature cut appropriations to higher education in half.  Now, with some of that money restored, tuition was frozen for a time, while other initiatives (many bolstered by private money) moved ahead.   In January, UNH and Franklin Pierce law center made it official, and now there’s “UNH Law School” in Concord.  In April, a new school of business and economics opened on the Durham campus, and planning is also underway

Brainlesssteel via Flickr CC

The University of New Hampshire says close to 3,400 first-year students are entering the school this fall — its largest incoming class ever.

This year's first-year class saw an increase of 7 percent in the number of in-state students over last year, up to over 1,400. President Mark Huddleston says UNH attributes that at least partially to the restoration of state funding that allowed the school to freeze in-state tuition for two years.

Previously, the largest class to enter the university was in 2006 with 3,079 students.

The first day of classes is Sept. 2.

The community college in Concord, New Hampshire, has a new president.

Susan Dunton's experience in college administration, academic affairs and student services spans three decades at Lesley College, the Harvard Divinity School and Fisher College in the Boston area; Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee; and Fontbonne University in St. Louis.

She has worked on forming partnerships between community college and four-year research and technical institutions and developed academic programs for workforce needs.

In a striking move, part-time faculty at Northeastern University voted to unionize Thursday, making it the third Boston-area college in the past seven months to do so. Kirk Carapezza and Mallory Noe-Payne report at our On Campus blog.

College commencement season is underway in New Hampshire, and at least four schools celebrated this weekend.  Colby-Sawyer College in New London, Keene State College, Rivier University in Nashua, and Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester all held commencement ceremonies on Saturday.  Gov. Maggie Hassan was the keynote speaker at Southern New Hampshire's ceremony for graduate students, while undergraduates were set to hear from poet Robert Pinsky.

  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. 

For our week-long series A Matter of Degrees, NHPR reporters and programs produced stories about the issues facing colleges and universities throughout New Hampshire.

This first map links to most of the content. Play arrow icons represent radio and video stories, stars are web-only and print features.

Sean Hurley

Enrollment in the network of seven community colleges in New Hampshire nearly doubled between 2000 and 2010. But while overall growth is up, the North Country’s White Mountains Community College is seeing a decline. 

Go to a restaurant, school or office in the North Country and chances are you'll find a White Mountains graduate.

You see em at the hospitals, you see em at the doctor's office you see em in the schools. 

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Under the federal Clery Act, colleges and universities are required to report crime statistics. This chart measures total reported forcible sexual offenses involving students, on and off-campus, at each New Hampshire school.

The numbers are not adjusted to account for enrollment, which would allow for a better comparison. For example, with a 2012 undergraduate enrollment of 12,565, UNH sees 1.67 incidences per capita - while, with an enrollment of 6,277, Dartmouth sees 3.82 per capita.

Research suggests as many 95 percent of campus rapes and sexual assaults go unreported.

FreemanSchool / Flickr/CC

We’re continuing our series “A Matter of Degrees” with a look at what it means to be “career ready.”  There’s a lot of angst about whether college graduates have the skills they need for today’s workforce, especially science, math, and writing. Some are saying it’s time to rethink which courses students really need, which they don’t, and whether employer expectations are reasonable.

GUESTS: 

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.

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.

via Q1045

This week NHPR is taking a close look at higher education in the state with our special series A Matter of Degrees. But funding higher ed is a perennial issue that we've been tracking for almost as long as we've been broadcasting.  

Getting In: What It Means To Be "College Ready"

May 7, 2014
unh.edu

We’re continuing our series “A Matter of Degrees” with a look at what it means to be college ready.   A common complaint is that freshmen arrive without the fundamentals of writing and math.  Meanwhile, the nation’s top tier schools are tougher than ever to get into – and students are playing an admissions game, figuring out the right mix of grades, extra-curriculars and experiences. 

GUESTS: 

Sheryl Rich-Kern for NHPR

At New Hampshire colleges and universities, about 70 percent of faculty members are off the tenure track. And a good percentage of those non-tenured professors are part-time.

Amanda Loder / NHPR

For years, universities have been looking for creative ways to drum up cash as their costs increase.  The most straightforward way to increase revenue is to bring in more students.  And for Plymouth State University, that meant heading south to the Caribbean in a rare partnership deal that some see as controversial.

(Infographic: By The Numbers: PSU's Partnership With American University of Antigua)

Via UNH website

A 2013 report says 3,095 international students pursued higher education in New Hampshire; that was up 6.3 percent from the previous year. That report also estimates the foreign student expenditure in the state at $103 million dollars. To get an idea about the trend and what it means for schools both here and nationally, I spoke with Karin Fischer, a senior writer at the Chronicle of Higher Education. She covers international education issues.  

Weston College / Flickr/CC

We continue our series “A Matter of Degrees” with how families finance higher education.  With the price tag ever-rising, and grants scarce, students are shopping-around and cobbling together a variety of funding approaches.  Often, that includes taking on more debt, but also re-thinking that traditional model of a four-year, on-campus College experience.

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NHPR / Michael Brindley

The way the dean of the UNH School of Law John Broderick describes it, the precipitous drop in enrollment came on fast and furious.

“I don’t think anyone saw it coming. I don’t think anyone quite knows whether it’s over.”

According to the American Bar Association, enrollment at law schools across the country dropped by 11 percent last year, and is down by 23 percent since 2010.

And the University of New Hampshire School of Law hasn’t been immune.

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.

Fast Company / Flickr/CC

We kick off A Matter of Degrees, a week-long series on higher education, with what's behind the rising costs of college. Critics blame sports programs, fancy cafeterias, and highly paid professors, but officials say you need to make college attractive, and what students pay now will be returned exponentially in the future. (digital post by Faith Meixell)

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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.

The Education Doc via Flickr CC

All this week, NHPR's reporters and programs presented A Matter of Degrees. This special series examined the uncertain future of New Hampshire's colleges, and how they are trying to stay relevant, competitive, and worth the cost.

Here’s today’s question for you:

With all you’ve heard about rising tuition, high student debt, and the push for colleges to innovate, would you choose to go to school in New Hampshire?

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

Emily Corwin / NHPR

  Twenty-six thousand dollars. That’s about how much students can save by going to a community college for two years, then transferring to a four-year school. Not including financial aid or room and meals.

Those $26 thousand dollars are changing the plans of more and more students in New Hampshire. And that’s good news for students, and possibly for the University System at large.

Pragmatic Decisions

Emily Corwin

As a slow economy pinches family budgets and the cost of college tuition climbs ever higher, more high school graduates are choosing to start their educations at community colleges. As those students demand a more traditional college experience, community colleges in Nashua, Manchester, and now the Great Bay are building in new athletic facilities, teams and clubs.  

Michael Fischer is thumbing through the architectural renderings for Great Bay Community College’s new $5 million dollar recreational facility.

Dean of UNH-Manchester Resigns

Nov 3, 2013
University of Massachusetts - Lowell

The dean of UNH-Manchester has resigned just 15 months into his appointment

Provost Lisa MacFarlane announced Dean Ali Rafieymehr’s departure in an email to faculty and staff late Friday afternoon.  She noted the resignation was effective that day.  Spokesperson Erika Mantz said she couldn’t comment on personnel matters.  Like MacFarlane’s email, she highlighted his work in so-called “STEM” fields.

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