Higher Education

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.


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)


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.

401(k)_2013 via flickr Creative Commons

President Obama has put colleges on notice – if tuition does not stop rising, federal financing will drop. And he’s laid out proposals addressing both affordability and accountability. Some say this attention is long overdue, but others warn of unintended consequences. We’ll talk with leaders in New Hampshire higher-education about these issues in the state.


MattBritt00 via Flickr Creative Commons

Dartmouth College has inaugurated its 18th president, a 1977 alumnus who most recently served as provost at the University of Michigan.

Philip Hanlon was inaugurated at a Friday afternoon ceremony in Hanover. He previously served as the chief academic officer at Michigan and plans to continue teaching mathematics at Dartmouth.

Hanlon succeeds Jim Yong Kim, who left Dartmouth in 2012 to become president of the World Bank. Kim was among the speakers at Friday's ceremony.

UNH Dives In To Marine Science

Sep 9, 2013
Courtesy The University Of New Hampshire

The University of New Hampshire has started a new school of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering, focusing on newer topics such as adaptations to climate change and coastal planning, in addition to marine biology and oceanography.

The school is the first interdisciplinary one at UNH and will provide graduate and undergraduate courses.

Taking Stock of STEM

Jun 3, 2013
Shyam Subramanian via Flickr Creative Commons

The subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math are all the rage these days among politicians, business and education leaders who say we need more emphasis on these subjects to compete globally. But others say we’re going overboard on STEM and that society benefits from a broader approach that includes the arts, communication, and critical thinking.


Fred Kocher: President of the New Hampshire High Tech Council and founder and president of Kocher and Company, a marketing and communications firm.

In an era of soaring tuition and student debt, colleges and universities are looking for new ways to pursue affordability and flexibility – offering everything from online courses to three-year degrees.  We’ll talk with some at the forefront of this trend and explore some of the questions being raised about these approaches.


ben.chaney.archive via flickr Creative Commons

In his state of the union address in February, President Obama asked for legislative help in making higher education more accessible to American students.

“So tonight, I ask Congress to change the Higher Education Act so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid. And tomorrow, my administration will release a new “College Scorecard” that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria -- where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.”

The President’s calls for reform come at a time when an estimated 40 million Americans want to go further with their education. Beyond the rhetoric, Obama’s 2013 budget outlined plans to overcome common barriers to getting a degree, including access, affordability, and completion. An initiative from Southern New Hampshire University is looking to change that.

via indiebound.org

Alex Kudera published Fight for Your Long Day, in 2010, but it’s still gaining traction because of its unflinching look at the swelling academic underclass that is adjunct faculty, recently getting notice from the chronicle of higher education. We spoke with him about the book and the perception of adjuncts in higher education today.

SNHU Responds To Military Students Hit By Sequester

Mar 14, 2013
Military Police Practice Medical Evacuations
DVIDSHUB / Flickr Creative Commons

Until about two weeks ago, active duty armed service members could count on $4,500 a year to help pay for college tuition.  But with the military suspending the benefit because of sequestration, Southern New Hampshire University is trying to bridge that gap.

angelamaphone via flickr Creative Commons

In his first term, President Obama boosted Pell grants and reformed federal financial aid in hopes of increasing college access for low-income students.  Despite these efforts, there is another problem preventing the less privileged from getting an education – a disconnect between poor families, and the arcane bureaucracy surrounding the admissions process.

Sarah Carr is author of the new book Hope Against Hope: Three Schools, One City, and the Struggle to Educate America’s Children.”  An excerpt from that book featured in The Atlantic tells the story of one New Orleans high school’s efforts to bridge the admissions process gap.

New Hampshire’s University system has faced huge cuts in recent years, a story repeated nationwide to the point where some suggest these institutions consider privatizing or loosening ties with government. Others argue though that public centers of higher learning are a vital public good. We’ll look at the debate here and new national research.


MomMaven via Flickr Creative Commons

As more and more students head to American colleges and universities to advance their education and economic prospects, there is dwindling faith in the quality of a four-year degree, especially given the high price tag. Meanwhile, a whole new model of learning is quickly gaining ground. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) offer education to anybody with a reliable internet connection, often for free.  MOOCs are attracting massive amounts of students, investment capital, and accolades.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Higher Education officials and Business leaders gathered for a forum today on how to increase the number of New Hampshire STEM graduates – that’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. But while it was Community Colleges and Universities talking about the issue today, the lack of interest in STEM is a problem at every level of the American education system.

Flikr Creative Commons / Herkie

In the last budget, one of lawmakers’ most controversial decisions was to cut the state’s contribution to New Hampshire’s public universities by 48 percent. Restoring those cuts has emerged as a big issue in the governor’s campaign. But how that will happen is a question politicians have yet to answer.

The people who don’t approve of the cuts that the New Hampshire legislature made to the university system – like UNH president Mark Huddleston – describe those them in a certain way.


The New Hampshire Department of Education says that in the past decade there has been a 6 percent increase in the number of high school graduates continuing on to college, but also a five percent increase in the number of high schoolers leaving the state for college.

Photo be Clark Gregor, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

An increasingly common anxiety for freshly-minted undergraduates is finding a job in their field with a decent enough salary to pay off their student loans. For those with new advanced degrees, the stakes are even higher...  2008 figures from The Center for College Affordability and Productivity estimate that 16% of those qualified to be college professors, lawyers, and doctors are working jobs at the high school graduate level. Helping wayward professionals put their highly-trained brains to work, is Jon F.

Flikr Creative Commons / Brave Sir Robin

The New Hampshire Attorney General is looking into claims that the trustees of Dartmouth College are funneling money for the investment of the school’s endowment into their own pockets.

An anonymous letter written three months ago sparked the Attorney General’s review. A group of Dartmouth faculty claims to have written it.