An increasing amount of attention is being paid nationally to the spiraling costs of higher education, with college becoming increasingly out of reach financially for many students. SNHU takes this concern very seriously and is continuously exploring ways to keep higher education affordable.
Since its inception in 1932, SNHU has been committed to providing affordable education, from allowing students to pay in weekly installments to constantly seeking ways to reduce costs for students today. COCE’s dedication to providing affordable education led to a number of cost-cutting initiatives this year.
Bucking the annual, common practice of universities raising tuition, COCE froze tuition for courses taken online and at our centers in New Hampshire and Maine, locking in 2012 rates for the 2013 academic year. “It is the latest example of our commitment to make higher education accessible and affordable for all,” said Amelia Manning, associate vice president for Advising and Student Support.
“It shows our institutional dedication to keeping costs low while making a quality education an affordable reality,” Manning said.
Across-the-board budget cuts due to the sequester had an immediate impact on military servicemembers seeking their degrees when the Pentagon announced it was halting tuition benefits. The university decided to combat the cuts with scholarships for all active-duty military students currently enrolled at SNHU who would be impacted in the undergraduate and graduate terms.
“Brought on by congressional budget shortfalls and sequestration, these cuts hurt those who continue to sacrifice so much to support and defend our country,” said President Paul LeBlanc.
Current active-duty students not approved for Military Tuition Assistance for the April terms were eligible for scholarships equal to one class’ tuition. Though Congress later ordered the Pentagon not to cut tuition benefits, they were not immediately reinstated, affecting students enrolled for the April terms.
“Southern New Hampshire University deserves to be commended for not only leading in this instance but for all they’ve done on behalf of our men and women in uniform. Thanks to their efforts, a countless number of active-duty personnel will have access to the type of higher education they deserve,” said U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.
The response on Facebook was immediate and overwhelmingly positive.
“I’m out here in Afghanistan right now … it’s great to see that SNHU was looking out for not just me but all active military members when our government didn’t,” Jaime Natividad, an Army gunnery sergeant, posted.
“Awesome, just awesome. This is why you guys are listed as a top Military Friendly School. Keep it up,” posted Joshua Moss.
Student Louise Murphy commented, “As a student of this school, I have to say I’m entirely impressed, not to mention proud, at how they have stepped up to address this issue.”
In addition, the university introduced a 25-percent tuition discount for active-duty military graduate students (in addition to the existing tuition discount for active-duty undergraduates).
Savings on Textbooks and Learning Resources
The university is well aware that tuition isn’t the only cost students face when attending college. Ongoing efforts to keep related costs down include new agreements with bookstore vendors that will result in more than $2.5 million in student savings.
The new bookstore partnership with MBS Direct provides more affordable alternatives for students, including an increase in digital offerings and options for buying used or renting textbooks. Digital options will go from being available for 25 percent of courses to 70 percent of courses. Ground shipping is free, and discounts are available for second-day and next-day air. The university also stopped participating in a common higher education practice of receiving commissions on book sales, and specified that those funds instead be used for student savings.
“We were looking for partners to help us reduce costs, include more digital options and deliver the excellence in customer service that we expect for our students,” Manning said.
More affordable textbook options can translate into higher rates of student success, as more students will have the resources they need on day one, Manning said. The university is seeking to provide even more discounts for students by working directly with publishers, Manning added.
A recent deal with Pearson, a third-party vendor that provides MyLab packages that include ebooks, tutoring support, and automated, individualized feedback for a number of courses, has resulted in dramatic savings as well.
Higher education is the ticket to financial and professional success for many students. As such, addressing the cost of higher education and seeking ways to keep it affordable will remain a focus for COCE.