EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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April 22, 2014

NH. community colleges cut tuition

Five percent break welcomed

(Continued)

While the community colleges don’t track transfers to colleges outside the University System, they do know a signficant number of students transfer to other four-year programs, she said.

Rockingham County accounts for 19 percent of community college enrollment in New Hampshire. That’s second to the 33 percent from Hillsborough County. Merrimack County accounts for 15 percent.

Londonderry High’s Mitchell remembers how families avoided community college 30 years ago.

“Parents years ago would say, ‘My kid’s not going to go to community college,’ ” Mitchell said. “Now it’s not taboo. It’s a readily accessible and viable option.”

Community colleges have done a good job promoting their programs and also upgrading campuses, he said.

Stack said programs like Project Running Start, which lets high school students earn college credits through the community colleges, are helping.

“Kids are going to see that natural connection,” he said.

Mitchell sees the tuition decision as a plus with higher education costs generally on an upward spiral.

“This really gives kids an opportunity to save some money and attend school and also pursue a career in multiple directions,” Mitchell said.

Greenlaw also said it helps.

“I think anytime there is a decrease in secondary education costs that is a good thing for graduating seniors,” she said.

The tuition cut will only boost the trend, Mitchell expects.

“I think things are going to continue in this direction the next few years,” Mitchell said.

So does Greenlaw.

“Just talking with students, more and more of them are thinking this is a good way to get a great education at a lower cost,” she said.

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