- Associated Press - Sunday, November 8, 2015

DURHAM, N.H. (AP) - For the third year in a row, the number of Granite State students entering the University of New Hampshire is on the decline.

Foster’s Daily Democrat reports (https://bit.ly/1MF9oxP ) that only 39 percent of this year’s UNH freshmen are in-state students. The percentage has declined steadily from 43 percent in 2013 and 41 percent in 2014.

Both Keene State College and Plymouth State University are in their second year of a drop in freshman in-state students. This fall, roughly 37 percent of first-year students at Keene State College were from New Hampshire, while Plymouth’s freshman class included about 50 percent in-state residents.

UNH officials cite the declining number of graduating high school students in New Hampshire as one possible explanation for the drop in New Hampshire students.

Among land grant colleges in New England, UNH has the second-lowest percentage of in-state freshmen this year. The University of Massachusetts Amherst has the highest with 72 percent in-state students in its freshmen class. Sixty-eight percent of the University of Connecticut’s incoming class this year was in-state students, while the University of Maine has 64 percent in-state freshmen.

At the University of Rhode Island and the University of Vermont, out-of-state students make a majority of this year’s freshmen classes. URI has 48 percent in-state freshmen and Vermonters make up only 20 percent of UVM’s freshman class.

University System of New Hampshire Chancellor Todd Leach told the newspaper he believes attracting out-of-state students is a financial necessity, because they pay more in tuition. Tuition, room, board and fees cost out-of-state students $40,874 versus $27,604 for in-state students.

“Those out-of-state students are also critical to our ability to maintain a lower tuition rate for in-state students,” Leach said. “This is a financial model that both supports our economy and lowers the cost to educate in-state students, which has become even more important as high school graduates in New Hampshire begin to decline. A portion of these out-of-state students will also choose to stay in New Hampshire and become an important part of our workforce.”

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