By John Toole
---- — Trustees of New Hampshire’s community colleges voted yesterday to freeze tuition for the coming school year.
University System of New Hampshire trustees could follow their lead when they convene today in Keene.
“From the start of the budget process, we set out to restore the deep cuts made by the last Legislature to our community colleges in exchange for a tuition freeze that would make a higher education more affordable for more Granite Staters,” Gov. Maggie Hassan said, announcing the action by trustees.
Earlier this week, Hassan said the budget approved by the Legislature on Wednesday also would let the university system freeze tuition.
Hassan highlighted the importance of the community college system in her announcement.
“By aligning their programs with the needs of innovative businesses that are already here and looking to hire,” she said, “our colleges are helping to place students in good jobs that can support middle class families.”
Community colleges will again charge in-state students $210 per credit or $630 for a three-credit course. Out-of-state students will pay $478 per credit.
“Keeping community colleges affordable enables not only the economic advancement of our state’s residents and families, but also the continued growth of an innovation-based economy which relies on a highly skilled workforce,” trustee chairman Paul Holloway said.
High school guidance counselors have said New Hampshire students and their families are increasingly turning to community colleges to save money and because of competition for slots at the University of New Hampshire.
“Affordability and access are essential to our population, from the young person just starting out on an educational pathway to the adult seeking retraining in a new career field,” chancellor Ross Gittell said.
Tuition is on the agenda for university system trustees during their meeting today.
“Trustees will take that up,” university system spokesman Matt Cookson said.
University system trustees in February announced their decision to hold off setting in-state tuition because of the state budget process and the effort to keep tuition flat.
“We’ve received substantial grassroots support for bringing state assistance levels up so we can keep tuition level,” chairman Richard Galway said at the time.
UNH tuition and fees were $16,422 for in-state students, $28,882 for out-of-state students in 2012-2013.
For the 2012-2013 academic year, the highest published tuition and fee prices in both public four‑ and two‑year institutions were in New Hampshire and Vermont, according to a College Board report.
Trustees in February said a tuition increase approved for out-of-state students amounted to less than 1 percent for the coming year.