Higher Education | New Hampshire Public Radio

Higher Education

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Since the FBI revealed its "Operation Varsity Blues," charging a group of super-rich parents with massive college-admissions fraud, outrage has been widespread.  But family income and other forms of influence have long played a role in college admissions. Meanwhile, the scandal has also spurred a broader conversation about the role of parents and other adults in the application process.  

The following are highlights from a conversation with a private admissions counselor and a longtime teacher who joined The Exchange on Tuesday, March 19: Pulling Back the Curtain on College Admissions.  The excerpts have been edited for clarity.  Listen to the entire program here. 

Pulling Back the Curtain on College Admissions

Mar 18, 2019

 

50 high-profile cases of college admissions fraud made public by the FBI last week have ignited a national conversation on college admission and wealth. The recent story is unique but the theme is not: wealthy parents can increase their child's likelihood of getting into elite schools through both legal, illegal and somewhat shady means. We discuss where money influences the merit-based system of college admissions and how schools act to even the playing field of economic advantage. 

N.H. Department of Education

New Hampshire has approved the state’s first new university in six years - and it’s not your typical college.

Signum University offers online classes on sci-fi and fantasy literature, with topics ranging from Anglo-Saxon language to J.R.R. Tolkien.

It currently has 85 students in the MA program. The students pay tuition per course, with each course costing $650.

A Conversation with UNH President James W. Dean Jr.

Jan 28, 2019
UNH

James W. Dean Jr. was installed as the 20th president of the University of New Hampshire in June 2018, and recently outlined his strategic priorities to guide the university's future. Before joining UNH, Dean served as executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, where he was a professor of organizational behavior.  In addition to his vision for the future of UNH, we focus on perennial issues concerning the UNH community, especially high tuition and lack of diversity.  

File Photo, NHPR

Southern New Hampshire University has set up a $1 million emergency fund for students and employees affected by the government shutdown.

SNHU, which has a campus in Manchester and 135,000 students worldwide, is offering payments of between $250 and $1,000 to students and employees in "immediate financial crisis" because of the shutdown.

The money will be available to students who are federal employees not receiving a paycheck because of the shutdown, or students and university employees whose spouses or partners are federal employees not receiving a paycheck.

jimmywayne / Flickr Creative Commons

The University of New Hampshire is expanding its free tuition program.

The program, called Granite Guarantee, offers free tuition to New Hampshire students whose family income makes them eligible for federal pell grants.

Granite Guarantee has been in place at UNH for two years; 800 freshmen have used it so far.

josh rogers / nhpr

Governor Chris Sununu says he plans to push for more funding at the state university system for science and engineering education. 

Sununu used remarks at a New England Council breakfast to hint at some of future plans should he win reelection. Prime among them, the governor said, was boosting the number of home-grown workers to help power what Sununu expects to be a growing bio-tech sector.

Franconia Lives

Sep 28, 2018
(C) CHESTER LUDLOW, 1972

Once, a utopian experiment burned bright and brief in the Great North Woods.

Britta Greene / NHPR

Keene State College welcomed 18 Steinway pianos Tuesday, replacing old and worn out instruments that had become expensive and difficult to keep up.

The school is now the first college in New Hampshire to have an All-Steinway designation, meaning all of its pianos are manufactured by the prestigious brand.

Rebecca Lavoie for NHPR

The traditional new student "Clap-In" at Keene State College on Wednesday signals the arrival of freshman for the new semester, as well as the start of a new year in which the college continues a two-year reorganization plan.

UNH

A new UNH study looked at how well college personnel understand sexual assault and rape reporting regulations.

Researchers called Title IX offices, which oversee gender equality issues, and campus police at more than one hundred and fifty colleges around the country.

Dartmouth Faculty Move to Organize

May 21, 2018
NHPR Staff

A group of faculty at Dartmouth College has organized under the American Association of University Professors.

The group is taking aim at three key issues: reforming the tenure process, increasing job security and workplace rights for adjunct professors, and securing academic freedom.

Keene State College has hit its enrollment goal this spring for the incoming freshman class.

That goal, more modest than in years past, reflects an overall downsizing of the college in response to regional demographic trends. 

Many schools in the northeast have been struggling to stabilize enrollment as local high school class sizes, and therefore general application pools, have shrunk. 

Two documentaries, Intelligent Lives, and a companion film about New Hampshire native Garrett Shows (forthcoming in the fall), challenge our perception of people with intellectual disabilities, which resulted in systemic segregation and limited them from participating fully in school, work and society.  We talk with those who created these films, and those whose stories, struggles and triumphs are portrayed.

Facebook - All Eyes on UNH

A UNH task force on campus climate has released its final report roughly a year after a series of racially charged incidents embroiled the campus.

The task force makes fifteen recommendations in the report, including one to make the group permanent as an advisory council to the UNH president.

New Food Bank Open on Keene State Campus

Apr 9, 2018
www.visitnhcolleges.com

Keene State Biology Professor Susan Whittemore was at a conference last summer when she first heard statistics about hunger among college students nationwide.

The numbers struck her. Of course, she knew college was expensive, but she hadn’t thought about how that might be affecting her own students’ ability to feed themselves on a day-to-day basis.

Ryan Lessard for NHPR

The chairman of the Governor’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion is raising questions about the announcement of UNH’s new president, James Dean.

Rogers Johnson, who is also president of the Seacoast NAACP, has called for more transparency in the search process.

Now he says the unveiling of UNH’s choice for president seems to emphasize his ability to raise revenue for the institution.

visitnhcolleges.com

The University System of New Hampshire is expanding a program offering four years of free tuition to in-state students who qualify for federal Pell grants.

The program, known as "Granite Guarantee," began last year at the University of New Hampshire.  It'll now expand to cover Keene State College and Plymouth State University. Those schools will begin covering tuition for first-year students enrolling next fall.

State University System Chancellor Todd Leach cites several factors behind cost-cutting measures at Keene State College.

Besides declining enrollment and competition, he says there was a perception that Keene State was in fiscal trouble due to a cut in state funding in 2010.

“We can look and see the numbers drop there,” he said on The Exchange.

University of New Hampshire

Last May, the atmosphere on campus at UNH was tense.

A video showing a confrontation between students about racist stereotypes on Cinco de Mayo went viral. So did images of students wearing blackface. Swastikas and racial slurs started showing up graffitied on campus. Then, sculptures installed to show solidarity for minority students in the midst of all this were vandalized.

NHPR Staff

A new audit of the state’s Community College system found dozens of areas in need of improvement.

The audit, from the state’s Legislative Budget Assistant, identified 29 different areas of concern, ranging from unclear delineation of powers to conflicts of interests to questionable spending.

Republican State Senator John Reagan requested the audit.

Brainlesssteel via Flickr CC

A legislative committee is seeking public input about the quality and overall value of New Hampshire's higher education system.

The Public Higher Education Study Committee is trying to determine whether students leave school with critical thinking skills, personal and professional development and the ability to repay student loan debt. Republican state Sen. John Reagan, the committee's chairman, says the panel is looking for individual stories that illustrate the quality of the education students receive in New Hampshire.

Southern N.H. University to Expand Refugee Degree Programs

Jul 19, 2017
Courtesy of SNHU

Two years ago, Southern New Hampshire University began a new program, offering college degrees to refugees in Rwanda. Now, after graduating its first class last month, the school is expanding the program from one refugee camp to five.

Keene State College President Stepping Down

Jun 27, 2017
Keene State College

The president of Keene State College is stepping down after four years in that role.

Anne Huot said her departure was for "personal and professional reasons." She will spend the next year on unpaid leave before returning to a faculty position in biology at the college.

Huot saw Keene State through a number of challenges including the pumpkin festival riots in 2014 and a unionization vote by college employees last year.

She will officially leave her position July 31st.

Daniel Webster College in Nashua has closed its doors for good.

The college held its final graduation ceremony earlier this month, as remaining students now transition to Southern New Hampshire University.

The college was once known for its flight program, but had a tumultuous final few years after being sold to the for-profit ITT Educational Services in 2009.

After a federal crackdown on student aid to for-profit colleges, ITT announced last year it was shutting down its campuses nationwide, leaving Daniel Webster College’s future up in the air.

plymouth.edu

A new scholarship program at Plymouth State University will focus on reaching students in the North Country.

A now-deceased descendant of one of the school’s original funders donated $1.5 million to the university. The gift provides for a scholarship fund that will help up to 20 students with financial need each year. Priority will be given to students from Coos, Grafton, and Carroll Counties.

Paula Lee Hobson with Plymouth State says the donor, Ann Haggart, had a special connection with the North Country.

About 1,000 New Hampshire students who apply to Keene State College and Plymouth State University are not offered admission — and now, those two institutions are offering them alternative pathways through future enrollment.

The Public Promise initiative provides paths including associate degree programs, Dual Admission options and targeted coursework. Once completed, the options would allow students to transfer into the institution of their choice.

Public Promise will start in May with outreach to applicants wanting to attend college in fall 2017.

Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

Among the dozens of agencies and groups watching the state budget process this spring are the two organizations representing public higher education in New Hampshire: the University System, and the Community College System. In recent years, the two have fared differently when it comes to state support.

unh.edu

The New Hampshire College and University Council has named prominent Democratic political operative Mike Vlacich as its new president.

Vlacich is best known in New Hampshire political circles as an advisor to the state’s most successful Democratic officeholders. He’s worked for John Lynch, Jeanne Shaheen, and Maggie Hassan.

Last year, he was state director for the Hillary Clinton campaign.

His new role at the College and University Council will begin in June when current president Tom Horgan is set to retire.

CREDIT MIKE ROSS, UNH

Officials with the state University System are registering their disappointment with Governor Chris Sununu’s proposal not to increase state funding for New Hampshire’s public universities.

The University System of New Hampshire requested an increase of about 12 million dollars over the next two fiscal years. They said the increase would allow them to keep tuition flat for in-state students.

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