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USNH and CCSNH Respond to Governor's Merger Proposal

Published Tuesday Feb 16, 2021

USNH and CCSNH Respond to Governor's Merger Proposal

USNH issued the following statement:

The University System of New Hampshire (USNH) Board of Trustees strongly supports Governor Chris Sununu’s visionary and timely plan to create one system of higher education in New Hampshire. The Board believes that joining USNH with the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) is the best possible approach to securing, for the long term, the state’s capacity to offer all its residents affordable, accessible, and diverse pathways to a high quality education, from technical certificates to advanced graduate degrees to programs for lifelong learning and professional growth. One of the hallmarks of the state’s higher education systems is the diversity of mission and capability among its eleven institutions. The Governor’s plan makes it possible to take full advantage of the capabilities shared by our member institutions while preserving the diversity and excellence represented in their missions and identities.

The USNH Board is deeply concerned about the accelerating structural trends challenging higher education across the country and the growing financial pressures these trends are forcing upon our students and their families, our member institutions, and the state’s budget. We believe the unified governance structure called for in the Governor’s plan best enables the state to strategically and proactively address these ongoing threats. It is an essential next step in the journey toward securing the long-term financial health of our public higher education institutions and preserving – indeed enhancing – the many and diverse contributions of public higher education to our local and statewide economies.

We are cognizant of the critical role public higher education will play in advancing our state as we recover from the pandemic and believe the Governor’s call to combine the two disparate systems into one would create a stronger, more competitive, more efficient, and more sustainable driver of the state’s economic and cultural well-being than two separate systems. We look forward to working with the Governor, the legislature, and especially our esteemed colleagues at CCSNH as we chart this new path toward the future of public higher education in New Hampshire.

CCSNH Chancellor Susan Huard issued the following statement:

“Changes affecting higher education make it important to explore whether new ways of doing things can add value to students and the communities we serve.  We are aware other states have experienced real and prolonged challenges in trying to combine higher ed systems and we would hope to identify ways to be successful here in New Hampshire.   As this proposal moves through the legislative process, we proceed with an open mind and an eye toward what will best serve students and the State. There are sure to be a number of questions to be explored once we see the details of the proposal.”

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