Budget Facts and Highlights

Higher Education Works for New Hampshire

Efficiency, Innovation Define UNH Budget Response and Request

Budget Background

  • The University System of New Hampshire (USNH) requested $100 million for each year of the biennium (FY14–15), the same amount USNH received in FY10–11. The governor’s budget would fund USNH at $75 million in FY 14 and $90 million in FY15. The Board of Trustees and the four presidents are committed to using every dollar of the budget restoration to support New Hampshire students directly. All four institutions will freeze in-state tuition for two years and use all remaining restored funds for merit and need-based scholarship aid.
  • In the last state budget (FY12–13), the appropriation to USNH was cut by 49%. For UNH, this meant a loss of $32.5 million. Currently, state funding accounts for just 6% of our operating budget.
  • Before the 49% cut, New Hampshire was already last in the nation in per capita funding for public higher education.
  • From FY00 to FY12, enrollment at USNH institutions grew by 22.6%, whereas state support declined by 28.1%.
  • While we can and do control costs, legislative funding decisions drive the prices that New Hampshire families pay at our public colleges and universities.

Strong Fiscal Stewardship

We are true Yankees and do a good job controlling costs and using our resources efficiently.

  • Our institutions have a history of operating more efficiently than those in neighboring states, and we have used the fiscal challenges of the past few years to reduce costs further.
  • We instituted cost-saving measures, including layoffs, early retirement incentives, and a hiring freeze, to minimize the impact of the lost state funding on the quality of our educational experience. In all, we absorbed 80% of the state appropriation loss through budget savings.
  • In higher education, one of the best measures of efficiency is cost per credit hour. USNH institutions’ cost per credit hour is 70% of the average of our peer institutions’. When compared to other New England land-grant universities and university systems, we have the lowest level of institutional support (or administrative overhead) as a percent of total operating expenses.
  • The consolidation of certain services through the USNH Chancellor’s Office yields $6 million to $9.5 million per year in savings, according to a recent study by Huron Consulting.
  • Over the past year, the USNH trustees have reorganized governance to provide greater autonomy to the campuses in order to help them compete most effectively in their respective education markets.
  • New Hampshire has one of the most expensive health care markets in the country. While health care costs continue to rise, we realized a 4% decrease in health care costs from last year by moving to self-insurance, switching pharmacy vendors to obtain better pricing, adding an employee clinic, and improving employee cost-awareness.
  • UNH consolidated all copy, scan and fax services across campus into PrintSmart multi-functional devices, managed by a single vendor. The consolidation greatly reduced the cost per copy, saving nearly $500,000.
  • Over the past few years, UNH re-engineered its mailing service and eliminated $250,000 in recurring costs. Initiatives included reducing delivery and pickup of mail to only three days per week in FY 13.
  • UNH instituted process engineering (Lean Six Sigma) to improve customer experience and cost containment. Our first projects addressed student billing and the enrollment lifecycle. We identified nearly $350,000 in savings.
  • Philanthropy. We are committed to increasing our revenue streams from non-state, non-tuition resources. In FY12, UNH had its best fundraising year in a decade. Gifts and pledges were up 77% from the prior year, to $22.5 million. We are on pace to beat that total in FY13; our goal is $28 million. Private philanthropy supports endowments and scholarships, but does not support University operating costs.
  • Online courses. We have developed more than 100 online courses in the past three years. Since the first January term in 2010, enrollments in online courses have increased more than 140%, and the number of online course sections has increased from 27 to more than 70.
  • Research. Our tenure track and research faculty capture more research dollars on a per capita basis than the other land-grant universities in New England.
  • Intellectual property/tech transfer and commercialization. UNH revamped its licensing capacity at the end of 2010. In the most recent fiscal year (FY12), UNH set records in royalties (approximately $380,000), invention disclosures, and patents filed. Already in FY13, UNH has set another record for the number of licenses executed—with six months to go. In the current fiscal year, we have started three companies with the hope of at least one other.
  • UNH’s partnership with Navitas resulted in international enrollments growing from seven to 164 in just two years; many of these are full-paying students.

Return on Investment for NH

For the state's modest investment, UNH consistenty returns high value to the people of New Hampshire, from students who rely on UNH to access an affordable education to thousands of businesses that depend on UNH research, expertise and partnerships.

  • Our graduation rate is 76%, ranking us in the top 5% to 10% of all colleges and universities in the country.
  • Our students’ three-year default rate on loans is low, at 2.5%. This is a good indication that our graduates are getting jobs and are able to pay their loans. Rates at other northeast universities: UConn, 3%; UMass, 4.1%; UMaine, 7%; SNHU, 6.9%.
  • UNH students rank in the top 84% nationally in one of the first in-depth instruments for assessing the value added by a university education.
  • Our annual Undergraduate Research Conference is the largest of its kind in the nation. In 2011, more than 1,100 students participated. Undergraduates representing all majors and all departments pursue substantive research opportunities from their freshman year to their senior year.
  • Our space science program is ranked 5th in the nation (top 4 include UCLA, Berkeley, Colorado, and Michigan).
  • Our Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping is a world-recognized center, working closely with the federal government.
  • Our environmental research programs and our Sustainability Institute are nationally ranked for their expertise.
  • In 2011, UNH provided technical assistance and support to more than 5,000 businesses in all corners of the state. UNH contributes $1.4 billion in economic activity to the state each year.
  • UNH graduates 58% of New Hampshire’s baccalaureate degrees and 52% of its graduate degrees in the fields of engineering, engineering technology, and computer science—all of which are in high demand and short supply.
  • UNH was ranked 20th in the nation by the Wall Street Journal’s SmartMoney magazine (ahead of Dartmouth, Harvard and the University of Michigan) in a nationwide survey that examined the relationship between tuition costs and graduates’ earning power.

In short, we are efficient and good stewards of our fiscal resources. Our students tend to graduate on time (well ahead of the national average). They learn a lot and are engaged in meaningful research. They establish viable careers that let them repay their loans. We are national leaders in selected areas of research. And we actively fulfill our land-grant mission through our numerous centers, institutes, and UNH Cooperative Extension by providing technical support to New Hampshire businesses, monitoring the quality and health of our forests and water, and working with towns and nonprofits throughout the state.