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Thursday, August 7, 2014

UNH and state community college link admissions programs

In the latest change to the state’s
higher-education picture, UNH is establishing a dual admission program with a Portsmouth community college and will probably do the same with Nashua Community College.

The program is designed to let students “seamlessly transfer into UNH to complete a bachelor’s degree after completing their associate degree,” applying credits to both as long as their grade point average is 2.5 or higher. ...

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In the latest change to the state’s
higher-education picture, UNH is establishing a dual admission program with a Portsmouth community college and will probably do the same with Nashua Community College.

The program is designed to let students “seamlessly transfer into UNH to complete a bachelor’s degree after completing their associate degree,” applying credits to both as long as their grade point average is 2.5 or higher.

The university system says the program is designed to reduce the cost of getting a bachelor’s degree, since community college is considerably cheaper than UNH for in-state students. College graduates in New Hampshire have one of the highest, if not the highest, average school debt load upon graduation in the nation, depending upon which analysis is used.

UNH, like colleges throughout New England, is faced with competing for a declining numbers of high school graduates, as well as small but growing competition from online education. Colleges are
tightening their belts – most notably in Mount Washington College’s recent shutdown of its small Nashua campus on Amherst Street – and expanding offerings online to stay financially afloat.

For the university system, providing affordable access is important to justify state support.

“The greatest challenges facing higher education continue to be access and affordability,” UNH President Mark Huddleston said in a prepared statement.

The program is open to students applying or enrolled for the fall semester at Great Bay Community College, and is designed as a pilot University System of New Hampshire and Community College System of New Hampshire schools.

In an email exchange, Nashua Community College President Lucille Jordan said the school on Amherst Street is ready to participate in a similar program, if the university system goes forward. No curriculum adjustments or other changes are likely to be needed, she wrote.

The dual admission program expands existing articulation agreements that guarantee transfer into some UNH programs.

It also will allow a combined application fee, access to academic advising to ensure eligibility, invitations to academic, athletic, cultural and social events at UNH throughout the year, guaranteed university housing upon successful completion of the dual admission program, and eligibility for merit-based scholarships.

“This is the next step in a great partnership with UNH. With this new program we are able to provide a wider population of students the opportunity to complete an associate degree at GBCC and move seamlessly to UNH as a junior,” said GBCC President Wildolfo Arvelo.

Great Bay Community College, founded in 1945, has about 5,000 students in over 50 career and transfer oriented programs, in such areas as liberal arts, sciences, education, allied health, business, information technology, and advanced manufacturing.

David Brooks can be reached at 594-6531 or dbrooks@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Brooks on Twitter (@GraniteGeek).