UNH president: Students aren’t ‘customers’

Stefanie Botelho's picture
Thursday, February 20, 2014

When we look at the issues facing UNH and higher education more generally, it’s hard not to be apprehensive – or at least extremely attentive. The future is rushing at us – especially those of us in traditional residential colleges and universities – faster and faster and faster. Far from hitting the pause button and taking a break, we have to be prepared to act, swiftly and with wisdom. . . .

For more than three decades, U.S. family income has risen about 3.8 percent per year on average. That’s not close to the average increase in one major expense for families – medical costs – which have been the focus of so much public attention. Yet college tuitions and fees have gone up even faster than that, at nearly twice the rate of family income. That is simply not sustainable.

Public funding has also failed to keep pace. . . . State support for the university system has dropped 28.1 percent over the past 12 years. However, enrollments have remained strong over that same span, rising 21.6 percent. So, from a state support standpoint, we are truly educating more with less. . . .

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