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USNH requesting increase in state funding to invest in financial aid, internship opportunities

Story By:
Paul Miller | Director of Strategic Communications and Community Relations
Business Roundtable
President James Dean of the University of New Hampshire (left) and Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire President and CEO Mike Skelton (right) facilitated a discussion between the presidents of University System of New Hampshire institutions and New Hampshire business leaders on Tuesday, January 31, about the important link between USNH and the state’s businesses and economy. (Pictured L-R): Ben Learned, Freudenberg Sealing Technologies; Joe Murray, Fidelity; Dean Kamen, DEKA, FIRST and ARMI; Melinda Treadwell, Keene State College; Dean; Skelton; Donald Birx, Plymouth State University; Butch Locke, BAE; Anne Tyrol, Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Health.

USNH Presidents, NH Business Leaders Discuss Role of Public Institutions in Developing Workforce to Support NH Economy

President James Dean of the University of New Hampshire, President Melinda Treadwell of Keene State College and President Donald Birx of Plymouth State University were joined by several New Hampshire business leaders for a roundtable discussion on Tuesday, January 31, about the important link between the University System of New Hampshire (USNH) institutions and the state’s businesses and economy. Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire (BIANH) President and CEO Mike Skelton facilitated the discussion, which took place at UNH-Manchester.

The USNH presidents and Skelton were joined by:

  • Dean Kamen, founder, DEKA, FIRST and Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI)
  • Anne Tyrol, chief nursing officer and senior VP of patient care services, Cheshire Medical Center, Dartmouth Health
  • Ben Learned, human resources manager, Freudenberg Sealing Technologies
  • Butch Locke, strategic operations director, BAE
  • Joe Murray, vice president government relations and public affairs, Fidelity

The BIA and businesses represented at Tuesday’s event stand united in asking the state legislature to increase funding to USNH to $95.2 million in Fiscal Year 2024 and to $104.2 million in Fiscal Year 2025. The current funding stands at $88.5 million. USNH received $100 million in state funding in FY2011 and is the only line item in the state’s budget still below pre-Great Recession funding levels.

“The BIA’s mission is to ensure a strong New Hampshire economy by supporting our state’s businesses,” said Skelton. “The majority of states in the country are experiencing workforce challenges and each one is marshaling resources and upping its game for how to address this issue. We must all be concerned about what we’re doing to keep New Hampshire competitive. The connection between the University System and our state’s businesses is critical to that effort.”

Treadwell after the rountable, told The Keene Sentinel: “My vision is that our students should have compensated internship experiences so they are becoming the best teachers, the best physicians, the best nurses and the best manufacturing engineers they can be. That happens when they are working side by side with mentors and leaders.”

A UNH grad, Tyrol focused some of her comments on the high value of state colleges and universities in contributing talent to the NH labor pipeline, and to the field of nursing more specifically.

On average, 2,000 USNH graduates join the New Hampshire workforce post-graduation, and out-of-state USNH graduates are twice as likely to stay in the Granite State and join the state’s workforce when they participate in New Hampshire-based internships and other hands-on learning opportunities while attending school. In addition, USNH is the largest attractor of potential talent to the state. In the current academic year, nearly 3,000 first-year students from around the country are attending USNH institutions, exposing them to employment opportunities in New Hampshire.

“The largest portion of the state budget is generated by the Business Profits Tax, and those businesses need workers,” said President Dean. “No other institution does more to bring students into New Hampshire than the University System, and our collective ability to expand relationships with businesses to create opportunities for our students and graduates is key. We have held tuition flat for five years, despite rising costs, while providing more than $250 million in aid to NH students, but we cannot continue to do so without additional support from the state.”

On average, once financial aid has been applied, the cost for a New Hampshire resident to attend the University of New Hampshire, Keene State College and Plymouth State University is $10,200 per year, a cost which has decreased over five years.

USNH is requesting an increase in state funding to invest in financial aid to better retain New Hampshire high school graduates and ensure every student can earn a college degree, particularly those students who are most in need, and to expand relationships with the business community to strengthen internship opportunities and increase the number of USNH students entering the New Hampshire workforce. It will also help maintain investments that have led to five years of flat tuition and increased levels of aid to NH students.

These commitments are driven by the University System’s mission and are critical to retaining more New Hampshire high school students who seek a post-secondary education.

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