New Hampshire public colleges look for methods of increasing enrollment

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During the uncertainty of the pandemic, a large number of college students opted for gap years. This sent a ripple wave throughout higher education institutions, and colleges have now crafted new methods of rebounding from an unusual year.Including all its institutions, the University System of New Hampshire said the pandemic left it with a $25 million deficit. A healthy savings account filled the gap, but there are long-term complications public colleges are preparing for. Enrollment at two- and four-year colleges across the country have been lower than previous years. Granite State College told News 9 its summer enrollment is down, but said it is receiving stronger inquiries for the fall semester than a year ago.One hurdle colleges face in New Hampshire is a 1.5% dip in high school graduates annually. “There are fewer high school students and high school graduates than there were a decade ago,” university system spokesperson Catherine Provencher said. “The demographics tell us they will continue to trend downward in New England.”Early projections show the University of New Hampshire is bucking the trend. Administration officials said they have increased UNH’s financial aid offering.“We’ve bounced back from the COVID situation with enrollment up 5% from last year at the undergraduate level and up 15% over the last year at the graduate level,” provost Wayne Jones said. To combat these problems, the university system has implemented a restructuring program to trim expenses by 10%. To achieve that goal, the system offered early retirement and consolidated some staff.Officials said they plan to release COVID-19 protocols at the end of July. >> MORE FROM WMUR: Preliminary FAA report said plane hit power line over Charlestown field

During the uncertainty of the pandemic, a large number of college students opted for gap years. This sent a ripple wave throughout higher education institutions, and colleges have now crafted new methods of rebounding from an unusual year.

Including all its institutions, the University System of New Hampshire said the pandemic left it with a $25 million deficit. A healthy savings account filled the gap, but there are long-term complications public colleges are preparing for.

Enrollment at two- and four-year colleges across the country have been lower than previous years. Granite State College told News 9 its summer enrollment is down, but said it is receiving stronger inquiries for the fall semester than a year ago.

One hurdle colleges face in New Hampshire is a 1.5% dip in high school graduates annually.

“There are fewer high school students and high school graduates than there were a decade ago,” university system spokesperson Catherine Provencher said. “The demographics tell us they will continue to trend downward in New England.”

Early projections show the University of New Hampshire is bucking the trend. Administration officials said they have increased UNH’s financial aid offering.

“We’ve bounced back from the COVID situation with enrollment up 5% from last year at the undergraduate level and up 15% over the last year at the graduate level,” provost Wayne Jones said.

To combat these problems, the university system has implemented a restructuring program to trim expenses by 10%. To achieve that goal, the system offered early retirement and consolidated some staff.

Officials said they plan to release COVID-19 protocols at the end of July.

>> MORE FROM WMUR: Preliminary FAA report said plane hit power line over Charlestown field

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