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USNH Holds Off on Setting In-State Tuition

Board of Trustees to Wait Until Funding Restored Or Denied

Durham — Out-of-state students can expect to pay up to 3 percent more for tuition at the state’s public colleges and universities next year, an increase officials are hoping will not extend to in-state students.

Out-of-state students attending the University of New Hampshire next year will face a “sticker price” of $39,272.

The University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees approved increases for out-of-state tuition, room and board and mandatory fees at a meeting last week. It voted to wait to set tuition rates for in-state students in hopes the state restores support for the university system to 2010 levels, or $100 million per year.

In exchange, the board has agreed to freeze tuition for in-state students.

Gov. Maggie Hassan’s budget proposal to legislators Thursday included $20 million for the university system in 2014, with an addutional increase of $15 million in 2015, bringing the system back to 90 percent of its appropriation before the historic cuts.

Legislators will have the final say on how much money the system is awarded, but university officials said Thursday the governor’s proposal is enough to stand by their commitment to freeze tuition.

Even if Hassan’s budget is approved, however, both in-state and out-of-state students will be dishing out more money to attend college in the Granite State next year.

Tuition for out-of-state students at the University of New Hampshire will be $26,390 next year, a 1 percent increase over last year. Keene State College students will pay $17,795, up 2.8 percent. Plymouth State University students will see a 3 percent increase to $17,830.

And all college and university students will be paying more in mandatory fees and room and board costs: 2.2 percent more at Keene State and 2.9 percent more at UNH and Plymouth.

The increases will push fall sticker prices for in-state students, assuming they don’t face tuition increases, to $26,552 at UNH, $21,783 at Keene State, and $21,868 at Plymouth.

USNH Chancellor Ed MacKay said he is hopeful the fee increases will be the only rise in costs in-state students see.

The university system will base financial aid awards to new in-state students on last year’s tuition rates, he said.

“We’re able to go forth with packaging student financial aid now, which is really important to families,” he said. “For out-of-state students there will be firm figures, and we hope it’s the final figure in regards to in-state students.”

MacKay said he’s received positive feedback from legislators since the university system presented their appropriation request to lawmakers in November.

After November’s elections, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle said they expected funding to be restored this year. But the decision is still up to the legislature, and will likely not be finalized until mid- to late-June.

If funding is not restored, MacKay said the university system will have to repackage financial aid awards for in-state students. The first tuition bills typically go out the first week of July, MacKay said, so the board will have to move quickly to determine how much tuition rates will increase.

And it’s not only in-state tuition that would be impacted by a failure to restore funding.

MacKay said that in addition to freezing tuition for two years, the university system also committed to significantly increase in-state student financial aid support and focus more on supporting staffing and programs in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — if state support was increased.

“If funding was not restored, we’d have to look at the dollar amount of the appropriation provided and see what we could do in being able to meet those goals,” MacKay said. “But hopefully that will not be a concern.”