As New Hampshire’s high school Class of 2021 prepared for graduation, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and The Foundation for New Hampshire Community Colleges offered every member of that class an early graduation gift in May, 2021: one free class at any of New Hampshire’s seven community colleges in the fall of 2021.
The gift focused on community colleges because they are most accessible geographically and economically to the greatest number of New Hampshire residents; because community college programs provide a wide range of efficient pathways to high-demand careers in New Hampshire; and because community college credits can be transferred toward four-year degrees at schools in the state’s university system.
By September 2021, more than 1,200 graduates of the Class of 2021 had enrolled in their free course.
Twenty-five percent of students who responded to a survey said that the class gift was the reason they decided to enroll in their local community college.
Community college enrollment increased slightly in New Hampshire in the year of the class gift, compared with a nationwide decline in community college enrollment of -3.4 % in the same period.
Read our final report on the Class Gift to the Class of 2021, including implications for New Hampshire, lessons from neighboring states — and how additional investment could benefit New Hampshire’s students, workforce, economy and communities.