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Historic Cuts to Public Higher Education Prompt $650 Increase to In-State Tuition

By Justin Harmon, University Communications
June 22, 2011

The trustees of the University System of New Hampshire voted June 21 to adopt a budget that addresses a 48.4 percent cut in funding by the New Hampshire Legislature, the largest to public higher education in the country. The budget includes a $650 increase in tuition for in-state students at UNH, specifically to address $4.5 million of the university’s $33 million shortfall.

By contrast, expense reductions, including a hiring freeze and a salary freeze, will yield $21 million toward closing the UNH budget gap. The UNH workforce will be reduced by as many as 150 positions.

Tuition for in-state students at UNH will be $12,060 for the next academic year; their total cost of attendance will be $24,702, up $1,978 or 8.7 percent from the current year.

 “In-state tuition represents a discounted price based on a subsidy from the state,” said UNH President Mark Huddleston. “The state is cutting its subsidy to New Hampshire students almost in half. We have done everything in our power to absorb these losses by saving costs on campus; in fact, our faculty and staff will take the greatest share of the burden.

“In the end, we have no choice but to pass a share of the loss directly to New Hampshire students and their families,” Huddleston said. “Under the circumstances, we are relieved that the tuition increase approved by the board was not substantially larger.”

If the university were to rely solely on tuition to fund the state shortfall, a tuition increase of $4,650—a total increase of almost 50 percent for the year—would be necessary. Instead, the university is taking steps to reduce expenses, seeking ways to minimize the tuition increase while preserving the quality of education and services it provides.

The state’s tuition subsidy for in-state students had declined over a period of years before this year’s precipitous drop. In addition to closing substantial per-student deficits caused by the erosion in state funding, UNH has increased its own financial aid subsidies to New Hampshire students by a factor of 10, from $2.2 million in FY 2001 to $21.6 million next year.

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