New Hampshire: Real Paradigm Shifts

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Like many states, New Hampshire’s budget troubles are impacting funding for state colleges. State aid to the University of New Hampshire now constitutes a mere 13.9 percent of the school’s annual budget. The state covered 16.6 percent of the UNH budget back in 2000. The school’s endowment is down and UNH has raised tuition for in-state students every year since 1989. New Hampshire’s flagship university just finished $8.3 million budget cuts.

Clearly something has to change. According to an article by Michael McCord in the Portsmouth Herald, UNH President Mark Huddleston is trying:

“UNH is poised at a genuinely historic juncture. The reigning paradigm of higher education, hallowed and beloved though it is, is broken,” said Huddleston, a casualty of “economic, political and demographic forces far beyond our control.”

“Given the state’s current financial situation and the historical record in New Hampshire it would not be reasonable to expect to see any material increase in state funding for higher education over the next decade,” Huddleston [said].

While Huddleston may have called for a UNH paradigm shift, he also proposed a plan that doesn’t actually reflect a paradigm shift. According to the McCord article, the president’s plan consists of attempting “to create more private-public partnerships and to increase fund-raising significantly among the university’s 123,000 alumni.”

Good ideas, certainly, but if schools like UNH want to survive and offer quality education at low cost something more than fund-raising has got to change.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer