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Granite State College Closes Claremont Campus



Valley News Correspondent
Thursday, April 05, 2018

Claremont — The decision to close the Granite State College campus on Pleasant Street is a reflection of the rapidly changing method of taking courses to earn degrees, college President Mark Rubinstein said this week.

Granite State, which opened in the city to great fanfare in 2006, officially moved out of the renovated first floor of the former Odd Fellows building at the end of March, when the lease expired.

In a phone interview this week, Rubinstein said more and more students have elected to take courses online rather than in a classroom setting, a shift that led to the decision late last year to close the Claremont campus.

Rubinstein said for the four most recent quarter terms, ending with the 2018 winter term, the school had 46 students enrolled in 10 different classes at the Pleasant Street campus, which is down from an estimated peak of close to 200 students and 37 classes when the campus opened.

Another seven classes had to be canceled during that same time period due to low enrollment.

“That has become the trend,” Rubinstein said. “We offer courses, then have to cancel them because there are not enough students, so the next time we offer fewer courses (in classrooms). There just isn’t enough interest. Students are opting for the flexibility of online.

“The number of students in face-to-face classes is becoming fewer and fewer.”

Granite State closed its campus in Littleton, N.H., within the last year for the same reason. It also has campuses in Concord, Manchester, Nashua, Conway, Portsmouth and Rochester.

When the campus opened, city and state officials had high hopes for making it into an education center that would spawn more economic development in the downtown area and perhaps lead to a partnership with Dartmouth College.

The school occupied about 4,900 square feet of first-floor office and classroom space, said Alan Croteau, a Claremont Realtor who manages the property for its owner in Manchester. When asked about a potential new tenant, Croteau said the owner recently had three or four possibilities that now are down to one, but said it is too early to provide further details.

The building’s second floor, where there is a large ballroom, is used by an area theater group for productions.

Rubinstein said the “typical” Granite State student is a working adult, sometimes with a family, and that the college’s online option provides flexibility that allows students to complete coursework during the times that are most appropriate for them.

“The flexibility and quality is there, and that is the direction students are taking and the college is following,” said Rubinstein, who has been president of Granite State for three years.

Granite State offers a range of degrees, from associate to bachelor’s and master’s. Often, a student will come to the college already having completed some coursework so the length of time needed to earn a degree varies.

Rubinstein said he sees online education growing, not only at Granite State, but at other colleges and high schools.

“It is a valuable way for students to complete a degree and gain the education they need,” he said. “The opportunity is there to provide the access and content, and most learning outcomes are the same (as a classroom).”

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com.