Higher Education

  Southern New Hampshire University has been awarded a $3.9 million “First in the World” innovation grant from the Federal Department of Education.

SNHU was among two dozen colleges and universities nationwide selected for the program meant to improve access to higher education for non-traditional students.

Wesleyan University Orders Fraternities to Admit Women

Sep 23, 2014

Wesleyan University in Connecticut announced Monday that all of its on-campus fraternities must go co-ed by 2017 or lose official recognition and support from the school.

Via UNH Website

A long-time benefactor to the University of New Hampshire is giving the school $10 million in scholarship support to students from the state.

The gift, announced Monday, is from Harvard alum and Tuftonboro resident Dana Hamel and will increase the endowment of the already existing Hamel Scholars fund. It will mean the fund has $17 million dedicated to scholarships for New Hampshire students who show academic excellence, leadership and community involvement. The school hopes the money will help make the school more competitive with high-performing students.

How N.H. Colleges Are Fighting Campus Sexual Assault

Sep 18, 2014
no6club / Flickr/CC

With one-in-five women estimated to experience sexual assault while in college, and a large majority of cases unreported, there has been a groundswell recently for better prevention and response, backed recently by a presidential task force. We’ll talk with local colleges and experts on sexual violence about how best to address this problem.


Brainlesssteel via Flickr CC

  Republican State Senate Leadership responded Tuesday to the University System of New Hampshire Trustees’ request to restore University funding to 2009 levels, a $16 million dollar increase between 2015 and 2016, in exchange for another two years tuition freeze.

Brainlesssteel via Flickr CC

The University System trustees have unanimously agreed to freeze tuition for two more years at the state’s public colleges, so long as lawmakers restore the University system’s budget to 2009 levels. That would mean an increase of $16 million dollars from fiscal year 2015 to fiscal Year 2016.  

Board chair Pamela Diamantis says these two additional years of budget reductions would allow the class of 2017 to graduate without a single tuition increase, "and I think that’s just a great testament to trying to drive affordability."

Bunky's Pikcle via flickr Creative Commons

Sexting, sex bracelets, sex parties, the media would like you to believe twenty-first century teenagers are out of control, or are they?

Today’s show takes an objective look at teenage sexual behavior, and finds out what’s behind all the media hype. Then, we’ll hit the classroom and hear from a psychology professor who conducted an experiment of her own: offering students extra credit in return for a phone free environment.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

As the fall college term gets underway, some Upper Valley students are finding themselves in limbo. That’s because they had enrolled in New Hampshire’s Lebanon College, only to find out without warning that their school was closing.


As college costs soar, many see a more vocational higher education as the best way to make the price tag worth it. Others, though, argue in favor of a broad-based education based on critical thinking and intellectual inquiry, rather than strict job preparation. We’re sitting down with Wesleyan University President Michael Roth about his new book "Beyond the University: Why A Liberal Education Matters."


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.”

Lebanon College has canceled its classes for the fall semester in what the president said is likely the first step toward closing the school.

The Valley News reports President Ron Biron said without a "substantive increase in enrollment," the cancellations are the first the step in closing the school.

Arthur Gardiner, the chairman of the college's board of trustees, said fewer than half of the anticipated enrollees signed up.

Biron said the college currently has about $2.2 million in debt involving both of its buildings on the pedestrian mall.

Dartmouth College's President, Philip Hanlon

Jul 15, 2014

Dartmouth President Phillip Hanlon joins us tomorrow to discuss changes and challenges at the college during his first year,  from a new plan to deal with a sexual assault problem that has drawn federal scrutiny, to Hanlon’s plans to expand graduate programs and deal with the ongoing issue of affordability.


  • Philip Hanlon – Dartmouth alum of the Class of ’77, award-winning math professor at University of Michigan and current president of Dartmouth College.

Mount Washington College in New Hampshire says it will close its Salem and Nashua campuses and lay off 50 employees by Sept. 9.

The Eagle Tribune reports college spokesman Stephen White said about 540 students would be affected. They will be able to continue their studies at the college's campus in Manchester.

He said the decision was prompted by a 30 percent decline in enrollment over the last few years and a move to focus more on its online programs. A year ago, Mount Washington closed its campuses in Portsmouth and Concord.

via Q1045

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 74 percent of those who have a bachelor's degree in science, technology, engineering and math -- known as STEM -- are not employed in STEM occupations.  

The Bureau also created a pretty cool interactive graphic comparing where STEM majors end up working, by  both race and gender. Here are some other takeaways: 

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.



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.


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

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.