Thursday, February 05, 2009

Kudos to Southern New Hampshire University

by Andrew Gillen

The Boston Globe reports that Southern New Hampshire University has opened a bare bones campus “stripped to its academic core.” For 2/5 of the price, students forgo the new dorms, state of the art fitness center, sparkling cafeterias and leafy quads, and focus on classes “taught by some of the same professors.”

What is so great about this, is that it allows students who can’t afford the college experience to still get a college education:
"Families come to campus and they want to see a food court, a fitness center with a climbing wall, and brand-new dorms," said Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire. "So we build everything, each one nicer than the other, to remain competitive."
But, LeBlanc added: "I'm not sure that improves education. It just drives the price up. Not everybody needs it, and frankly, not everybody can afford it."


capeman said...

A detail from the Boston Globe article:

"Southern New Hampshire began its discount two-year model in the fall for freshmen who commute to satellite campuses in Salem or Nashua, and it intends to start one in Portsmouth."

Uh, "two-year model"? Is this a community college program? Their regular tuition is about $25K, does that mean they're charging $10K for a community college in an office building in a parking lot? You can do a whole lot better at the local community college where I live, even if you don't count the public subsidy.

Ellen said...

What the Globe didn't point out is that, unlike a community college, the SNHU Advantage program is a cohort program with guaranteed small courses and a largely homogeneous student body (recent cHS grads). We offer it at three satellite centers, not just the one in Salem. What provoked the program was the rise of 18 year olds entering our continuing education program, which feature accelerated 8-week courses and a working adult population. Younger students often stopped out or failed, because this model just wasn't designed for their success.

Community colleges offer a great value, but most feature the same demographic mix as a typical continuing education center. We were disappointed with the "damning with faint praise" tone of the Globe article. They missed a good opportunity to highlight CC's and other institutions that help make college accessible.