New Hampshire has a lot to offer its residents. Its small size of just under 9,000 square miles lends a close-knit feeling to its communities, but still offers a wide variety of settings and experiences -- you can ski in its mountains, hike or hit the beach, all within just an hour from urban Boston. And its economy is booming, with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country (2.4 percent), according to a May 2019 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
But economists say New Hampshire's economy may stall if it doesn't gain significant numbers of college-educated workers trained to fill its fast-growing jobs. While The Granite State has one of the nation's highest rates of college attainment, it's not high enough to stem the labor shortage.
Online degree programs in New Hampshire could go a long way toward solving this problem while also providing you with an opportunity to earn your degree more quickly and conveniently and, ultimately, improve your quality of life. Keep reading to learn how.
Why Earn an Online Degree in New Hampshire?
At least half of new jobs in New Hampshire now require some kind of college education, and more than a quarter of the state's future jobs are likely to require bachelor's degrees, according to The NHHEAF Network, a collaboration among three nonprofits that work to help families plan and pay for higher education.
So while New Hampshire's college attainment rate of 51 percent is higher than the national average, there's still a lot of work to do to reach the state's goal of 65 percent by 2025. And earning this education not only benefits the state, but it benefits you as well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that unemployment goes down and salary goes up for every level of education beyond high school.
Earning an online education in New Hampshire makes great sense because so much of its population -- 67.8 percent -- is currently active in the workforce. Online degrees in New Hampshire offer students the ability to complete their studies at their own convenient schedules. And even though only seven of the state's 38 postsecondary institutions are located in rural areas, even rural students can access any online program of their choice, regardless of location, as long as they have an internet connection.
10 Best Online Colleges in New Hampshire
The following list of the top 10 New Hampshire colleges that offer online degree programs is developed with data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), using a methodology that takes into consideration such factors as graduation rates, tuition, number of online programs, student support services and more.
Top Online Degree Programs in New Hampshire
Here are the top online degrees in Utah that may be offered fully or partially online at the associate, bachelor's or graduate levels. This list is developed using data from the NCES.
Quality of Online Education in New Hampshire
Higher education in New Hampshire falls under the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE), which has been accepted as part of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). This agreement among member states establishes comparable national standards for interstate offerings of online education. Not only does this make it easier for students to take online degree programs in New Hampshire from other states, but it ensures that the programs are of consistently high quality.
You should also look at the steps individual schools are taking to assure students of their quality online programming as well. For example, the Community College System of New Hampshire, which is comprised of seven colleges, evaluates online classes using its own quality assurance rubric, eDesign. Lakes Region Community College in particular evaluates its online courses to be sure they align with the Quality Matters rubric, a national standard for quality in distance learning. Check with your prospective school to determine what measures it takes to ensure quality online education.
What to Look for in Online Degree Programs in New Hampshire
As part of its efforts to increase its college-attainment rate in New Hampshire, The NHHEAF Network has developed several resources to help prospective college students achieve success. These include college overview workshops, summer boot camps to help with the admissions process, corporate and community outreach to provide materials and helpful information to learners of all ages and stages, college calculators and more. This is a great place for students to start selecting online degree programs in New Hampshire.
Additionally, the NEBHE encourages you and your family to consider career preparation when choosing among programs. Find out whether the institution has a strategy for ensuring students learn the competencies needed in the workplace and gain relevant career preparation and experiences. Also, it's important to find out whether the institution provides career education resources. How involved is the staff in helping students chart a course from college to career? How successful are their graduates?
Of course, other factors are critical as well. The National Council of SARA suggests that students also consider such things as the level of student support services offered, the expectations for face-to-face learning, the amount of interaction students can expect to have with peers and faculty, the technological requirements and, of course, cost.
Top Occupations in New Hampshire
The BLS says that these occupations are experiencing the greatest demand in New Hampshire. This information may be useful to you in selecting an online degree program with strong career prospects.
Number of Workers
|Office and Administrative Support Occupations||93,790||$41,820|
|Sales and Related Occupations||76,470||$42,860|
|Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations||58,310||$26,970|
|Transportation and Material Moving Occupations||49,270||$35,490|
|Educational Instruction and Library Occupations||42,960||$52,440|
|Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations||40,290||$89,440|
|Business and Financial Operations Occupations||31,700||$74,350|
|Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations||24,500||$52,190|
|Healthcare Support Occupations||24,320||$33,850|
|Computer and Mathematical Occupations||22,920||$94,350|
|Construction and Extraction Occupations||22,600||$50,090|
|Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations||21,860||$32,300|
Top Metropolitan Areas in New Hampshire: Industries and Careers
Statewide, New Hampshire is experiencing growth in tourism, thanks to plenty of snow in the White Mountains for skiing and beautiful beaches in the Seacoast and Lakes Region areas. Other industries on the rise are smart manufacturing/high technology and healthcare. In fact, the state is home to 10 major hospitals as well as many small facilities, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center has made the Upper Valley (where Vermont and New Hampshire meet along the Connecticut River) a hub for biotech and medical research.
Here's what industries are big in the state's major metropolitan areas:
Manchester: According to the Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau in New Hampshire, Manchester may see the greatest job growth (7.7 percent) in the state through 2026, reports BLS. The healthcare and social assistance sector should contribute heavily to this growth, along with professional, technical and scientific services. Construction should also see growth, with employment growing by 11.2 percent. The area is filling with high-firms, such as DEKA Research and Development, Texas Instruments and Autodesk. Manchester is the home of Southern New Hampshire University, as well as six other colleges.
Portsmouth: This area in the southeast corner of the state meets the Atlantic Ocean at the Pease International Tradeport and represents the state's second-fastest area of job growth (7.5 percent) projected through 2026, according to BLS. Portsmouth and the surrounding area have the largest share of workers in the professional, scientific and technical services sector in the state, which is expected to be one of the fastest-growing job sectors during this period. Healthcare and social assistance jobs should also grow by an impressive 17.3 percent.
Nashua: The Nashua Region, far to the south and close enough to Boston and Cambridge, Mass., that the three often are grouped into one metropolitan area, is likely to see the third-fastest projected growth rate in the state through 2026, according to BLS. As another thriving tech hub, management/professional jobs and computer/mathematical occupations are two of the sectors with the highest employment. And as home to three colleges/universities, Nashua's education sector also employs a high number of residents.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in New Hampshire
The NHHEAF Network provides students with valuable information about how to apply for financial aid, save for college, find scholarships and more. The rates of state funding for public higher education in New Hampshire are lower than most other states. Currently, New Hampshire does not have state-funded, need-based grants available to incentivize students to enroll in its colleges. However, the network identifies several sources of private and federal funding for students:
Lakes Region Scholarship Foundation: This organization, founded in 1956, promotes and encourages scholarships and higher education opportunities among residents of the Lakes Region, in the center of New Hampshire. The organization acts as a clearinghouse for scholarship funds from donors, screening applicants and distributing awards.
New Hampshire Charitable Foundation: This statewide community foundation manages about 2,000 funds by generous donor individuals, families and businesses and awards more than $40 million in grants and scholarships to students each year. Four of its programs include the Statewide Student Aid Program, Career Aid for Technical Students, The Medallion Fund (for vocational studies) and the Adult Student Aid Program for independent students looking to upgrade their skills.
Dollars for Scholars: This grassroots scholarship program with a nationwide network of local chapters that provide local student funding in their communities.
Tests You May Need to Take
Typically, college admissions offices require either an ACT or SAT exam score as part of the admissions package, though not all schools may have this requirement. Please check with your prospective schools' admissions offices to learn what they require for testing.
To be included in our ranking of the best colleges for online degree programs, all colleges had to meet the following five criteria:
- Be an accredited U.S. institution
- Offer either 2- or 4-year degree programs
- Have at least 1 percent of students taking at least some of their classes via distance education
- Be active in the 2015-16 school year
- Report data for all 15 specific ranking variables included in our methodology
We then ranked the remaining 2,169 colleges and universities and scored each on a 100-point scale on these specific. Our data points include:
- The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- The average amount of federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Full-time Retention rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Percent of students participating fully or partially in distance education to total enrollment, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- No. of degree programs offered via distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Percent of students working and not enrolled 6 years after entry, College Scorecard, 2013-14
- Open admissions policy for all or most entering first-time undergraduate-level students, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Dual credit
- Credit for life experience
- Advanced Placement credit
- Academic and career counseling
- Job placement services for graduates
- Offers credit for military training
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