Q&A: Taking the next step to higher education

CCSNH an affordable, accessible path to in-demand careers

With higher education costs soaring, community colleges are giving New Hampshire residents access to opportunity, convenience and transfer options at a fraction of the price.

The pathway to in-demand careers, quite often, begins at a community college.

We reached out to Shannon Reid, Director of Communications for the Community College System of New Hampshire, to learn why there is such a buzz about these colleges, and how they can open doors for so many Granite Staters.

Why are we hearing so much about community colleges lately?

“Because community colleges are a very smart choice for today’s students. This is true if you want to begin a four-year degree pathway at a more affordable cost, as well as if you want to learn the skills for a profession. Community college graduates who earn a 2-year associate degree enjoy among the highest employment rates in the state and nation, because our programs are aligned with the exciting opportunities in today’s economy. Community colleges are also among the most affordable options for students – in-state tuition for a full-time NH student is about $6,500 per year, well under what most colleges charge, plus financial aid can offset that cost. How would you like to graduate with a great educational experience, exciting opportunities for your future, and a fraction of the student loan debt others will have?”

Can I earn my four-year (bachelor’s) degree?

“CCSNH has many transfer pathways and partnerships with four-year colleges and universities. Every year, hundreds of students earn a two-year associate degree at a New Hampshire community college and transfer into a bachelor’s degree program at another college or university. Students can also complete a certificate program in less than two years and accelerate into a career – there are a lot of options at community colleges!”

What if I’m not sure what to major in?

“Some students know exactly what their career interest is and what program to take. Students can enroll in a specific major, like computer science, culinary arts or radiologic technology. Others may have a general idea of what they like – for instance healthcare, hospitality or business – but are not sure exactly what program to major in. That’s OK – our programs are grouped into broad ‘focus areas’ so you can take courses that match your general area of interest and then refine your course choices and major as you go. Or you can start in a field like general studies, which provides a broad foundation for many options as you go forward.”

I like online learning for convenience, but wouldn’t want a totally online experience. Can I combine how I earn my degree?

“Students have many options to choose from, including courses taken on campus, online, or in ‘hybrid’ courses which combine some class time with some online aspects. Many students access all of these formats on their way to earning a degree.”

I’d like to play sports in college – do you offer interscholastic teams?

“Two of New Hampshire’s community colleges – NHTI in Concord and Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth – offer interscholastic sports programs. Students compete as members of the Yankee Small College Conference (YSCC) and the United States College Athletic Association (USCAA).”

Where are NH’s community colleges?

“Main campuses are located in Nashua, Portsmouth, Manchester, Concord, Laconia, Claremont, and Berlin. We also have academic centers in North Conway, Lebanon, Keene, and Rochester – so a start to your college education is close by.”

How do I learn more?

“From www.ccsnh.edu, you can find links to all seven of New Hampshire’s community colleges and see what programs are offered by each, which campuses offer housing, and more.”

Categories: Education