April 12, 2018

“Fee-Free” Application, Orientation Process to Ease Barriers

Concord, NH – New Hampshire’s Community Colleges will no longer charge an application fee, the system announced today.  Effective April 9, 2018, applications can be submitted free of charge, in a move designed to remove a barrier for prospective students to attend college. 

Before today applicants paid a $20 fee to apply to any of NH’s seven community colleges.  For those who applied to more than one community college, they paid multiple application fees.  System officials believe this cost could deter prospective students from exploring the best options to meet their educational and career goals.

“There are many components to affordability and CCSNH is focused on them all,” said Jeremy Hitchcock, the newly-elected chairman of the Community College System’s board of trustees.  “Tuition is the biggest element, and thanks to a real effort to prioritize affordability, working with the State and through internal measures, tuition at NH’s community colleges is the same today as it was in 2012.  But we know that students are also affected by other costs, including the fees colleges charge.  By removing this early barrier to college attendance, we hope to attract more students to consider college and from there, attain the kind of education and training that can turn an investment of $15,000 or less into a $500,000 boost in lifetime earnings,” said Hitchcock.   

The board voted on the removal of the application fee at its meeting April 5.  In addition to a fee-free application, the colleges will also not charge an orientation fee.  College officials say students are encouraged to attend orientation in order to help them successfully transition to college, but because of the $30-40 fee many students chose not to attend and miss important information and opportunities to learn about the campus, scheduling, advising and other aspects of college life. 

Applying to NH’s community colleges is also eased by the fact that students can submit an application at any time of the year, including the week before classes start for many programs.  But Hitchcock encourages students to take the step of applying now.  “We offer a broad portfolio of courses and programs that are linked to very desirable and in-demand career fields.  It helps to explore the options and figure out what works for you,” he said.  Advisors can also help students with financial aid and explore other sources of funds such as scholarships.  Some programs, such as nursing and dental hygiene, do fill well before the start of a semester.

In-state tuition at NH’s community colleges is $210 per credit, which translates in to $630 tuition for a three-credit course or approximately $6,300 tuition for two semesters of full-time study.  Most associate degree programs can be competed in two years depending on the number of credits required for a particular program, or taken part-time to accommodate other obligations.  NH community colleges also offer shorter certificate programs that are aligned with high-demand career fields, from business and IT to healthcare, hospitality and advanced manufacturing and more.  Many fields served by community college programs are seeing steady employment demand with employers clamoring for applicants.  A list of programs can be downloaded at www.collegeinthe603.com .

About CCSNH: The Community College System of NH consists of seven colleges, offering associate degree and certificate programs, professional training, transfer pathways to four-year degrees, and dual-credit partnerships with NH high schools. The System’s colleges are Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth and Rochester; Lakes Region Community College in Laconia; Manchester Community College; Nashua Community College; NHTI – Concord’s Community College; River Valley Community College in Claremont, Lebanon and Keene; and White Mountains Community College in Berlin, Littleton and North Conway.  The seven community colleges in the system are committed to working with businesses throughout the state to train and retain employees to develop a robust workforce across all sectors and embrace the “65 by 25 Initiative,” which calls for 65% of NH citizens to have some form of postsecondary education by 2025 to meet future workforce demands.

Original Story: www.ccsnh.edu/FeeElimination