- Who We Are, University of New Hampshire System, Accessed May 2017, https://www.usnh.edu/
- Quick Facts, Plymouth State University, Accessed May 2017, https://www.plymouth.edu/about-psu/about-psu/quick-facts/
- Why Choose KSC, Keene State College, Accessed May 2017, http://www.keene.edu/admissions/
- About, University of New Hampshire, Accessed May 2017, http://www.unh.edu/main/about-unh
- About, University of New Hampshire at Manchester, Accessed May 2017, http://manchester.unh.edu/about
- Dartmouth at a Glance, Dartmouth College, Accessed May 2017, http://dartmouth.edu/dartmouth-glance
- About SNHU, Southern New Hampshire University, Accessed May 2017, http://www.snhu.edu/about-us
- About, Saint Anselm College, Accessed May 2017, http://www.anselm.edu/About.htm
- NEC at a Glance, New England College, Accessed May 2017, http://www.nec.edu/about/nec-at-a-glance/
- Facts & Figures, Franklin Pierce University, Accessed May 2017, http://www.franklinpierce.edu/about/facts.htm
- Rivier at a Glance, Rivier University, May 2017, https://www.rivier.edu/about.aspx?id=51
- Scholarships, NHHEAF, Accessed May 2017, https://www.nhheaf.org/scholarships.asp
- Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.
The colleges and universities of New Hampshire are a mix of public and private institutions. They include newer schools as well as one of the most prominent names in the history of higher education.
The state's public schools fall into two groups: University System of New Hampshire and Community College System of New Hampshire. The university system includes two universities and two colleges conferring four-year degrees. Community colleges provide technical training and award two-year associate degrees. Thanks to the New Hampshire Dual Admission program, students who begin their education at a community college can easily transfer credit to an institution within the University System of New Hampshire.
Meanwhile, private schools in the state include one of the nation's most historic institutions. There are also plenty of colleges and universities offering online New Hampshire degree programs. Others may have flexible learning arrangements, such as night and weekend classes or credit for life experiences that make it easy for adult learners to go back to school.
Best 4-Year Colleges in New Hampshire
With so many good schools in the state, it can be hard to pick the best. However, these are the ones that rise to the top using a methodology that considers cost, degree options and graduation rates.
The University of New Hampshire is the flagship school within the University System of New Hampshire. While the school has another location in Manchester and a law school in Concord, its main campus in Durham tops the list of best institutions in the state.
Its 11 colleges and schools offer more than 200 degree options. That ranks UNH as number one in the state for the total number of academic programs available. The university has the second best graduation rate in New Hampshire, and its graduates have the third best three-year repayment rate for their student loans.
Founded in 1866, the University of New Hampshire has been noted for its historic and beautiful campus. Located near the Atlantic seashore, the school is a good place for those who want explore the great outdoors while also earning their degree.
The Manchester location of the University of New Hampshire lands in the number two spot on this ranking of the state's four-year schools. Unlike its counterpart in Durham, the University of New Hampshire at Manchester is not a residential campus. Instead, it is located in an urban center and offers 33 degree programs.
UNH Manchester ranks third in the state for tuition and fees. After student assistance has been factored, the school has the lowest average net price in the state. It has the second lowest average net price for low-income students. The university notes 90 percent of students receive financial aid.
With an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio, the University of New Hampshire at Manchester has an experiential learning focus. While there are no online degree programs at the school, adult learners can utilize night and weekend classes to study around work and family obligations.
Keene State College offers a liberal arts education and is part of the University System of New Hampshire. It is an affordable option that garnered solid scores across virtually all the 13 metrics analyzed in this survey.
The more than 4,000 students enrolled at KSC get the benefit of attending of one of the most affordable schools in the state. Keene State College ranks second for the price of its tuition and fees and first for the cost of books and supplies. About 90 percent of students receive some form of financial aid, according to the school.
While there are no online degree programs available at Keene State, the school does have more than 40 areas of study available on its campus.
As the second university within the University System of New Hampshire, Plymouth State University takes an innovative approach to education. Using a system of integrated clusters, PSU works to help students learn and apply knowledge across disciplines.
If the PSU Clusters Approach doesn't get students' attention, the university's price tag might. Plymouth State University ranks first for its low tuition and fees. It offers the third greatest number of academic programs in the state and the fourth largest number of distance education options. PSU also ranks third for its retention rate and fifth for its graduation rate.
Plymouth State University was founded in 1871 and has its campus in the city of Plymouth. More than 5,000 students were enrolled at the university in 2015.
For those familiar with higher education in the United States, Dartmouth College needs little introduction. The Ivy League school was founded in 1769 and is one of the nation's premier institutions. It is a private, liberal arts school that awards both bachelor's degrees and graduate degrees.
Dartmouth College notes that it guarantees to meet 100 percent of its students' demonstrated financial needs in paying for school. As a result, the college ranks first in New Hampshire for the amount of institutional grant aid it awards as a percentage of its tuition and fees. It also has the lowest average net price for low-income students. The school ranks first for the low median debt of its graduates and their three-year debt repayment rate.
Dartmouth College is a highly selective school, and students who are admitted typically stay enrolled and finish their degree on time. As a result, the college has the best retention and graduation rates in the state.
Southern New Hampshire University has made a name for itself as one of the best online colleges for New Hampshire. It ranks first for both the number of online degree programs it offers and the number of students enrolled in distance education. As of 2015, more than 90 percent of its student body was taking online classes.
The private school was founded in 1932 and maintains a campus in Manchester where approximately 3,000 students attend classes. However, SNHU says upwards of 80,000 students are enrolled in its online programs that award certificates, associate degrees, bachelor's degrees and master's degrees.
In addition to being a good source of online degree programs, Southern New Hampshire University appears to do a good job helping its students minimize debt. The school ranks second in the state for the low median debt of its graduates.
As another of the best online colleges for New Hampshire, New England College ranks second for the number of distance education programs it offers. In 2015, nearly 60 percent of its students were enrolled in online undergraduate and graduate programs that include degrees in liberal arts, business administration and human services.
New England College has the second lowest book and supply cost in the state. Its tuition and fees rank the school sixth. NEC also ranks sixth for the amount of institutional grant aid it distributes as a percentage of its tuition and fees.
This college is a private institution with an emphasis on experiential learning. NEC offers 37 bachelor's degrees, 12 master's degrees and one doctoral degree program. Its campus is in Henniker.
Named for the 14th president of the United States, Franklin Pierce University was founded in 1962. Originally a college, the school became a university in 2007. Today, it awards certificates, bachelor's degrees and master's degrees, and undergraduates can select from nearly 55 majors and minors.
Franklin Pierce University ranks third in the state for the number of distance education programs it offers. Those who want to earn an online bachelor's degree in New Hampshire will find several options from which to choose. These include an RN-to-BSN, one of the most popular fields of study at the school.
To help keep education affordable, Franklin Pierce University says 100 percent of students accepted at its campus in Rindge were awarded financial aid in the 2014-15 school year. Therefore, it's not surprising the university ranks fourth for the amount of institutional grant aid it provides.
Rivier University takes the number nine spot for the best four-year colleges in New Hampshire. The private, Catholic institution was founded by the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary and Sister Madeleine of Jesus. Taking its name from the foundress of the religious order, Rivier University was established in 1933.
Today, Riv, as the university is often called, offers more than 50 academic programs. These lead to both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Online degree programs are also available, and these feature 7-week courses and the option to transfer up to 90 credits from previous education. Nearly half of Rivier University's students were enrolled in distance education in 2015, ranking it third in the state for that metric.
The university also ranks high for helping students minimize debt. It ranks third in the state for the low median debt of its graduates.
Another top Catholic institution in New Hampshire is Saint Anselm College. Founded in 1889 by Benedictine monks, the school was named by The Princeton Review as one of the nation's "Colleges with a Conscience." Nearly 2,000 students were enrolled in the school's liberal arts degree programs in 2015.
Saint Anselm College ranks fourth in New Hampshire for the amount of institutional grant aid it awards as a percentage of its tuition and fees. According to the school, 96 percent of first-year students receive some type of gift or grant aid. That may help keep student debt manageable, and the college's graduates have the second best three-year debt repayment rate in the state.
The school is also notable for having the second best retention rate and the third best graduation rate in New Hampshire. Saint Anselm College has its campus in Manchester.
Most Popular Degree Programs in New Hampshire
The most popular degrees in New Hampshire include fields of study ranging from the liberal arts to health to business.
In-Demand Careers in New Hampshire
Your career prospects after graduation depend on a number of factors, including your degree. Before selecting a field to study, consider whether it might make you eligible for one of these jobs which are expected to show significant growth in New Hampshire.
|Career Title||Projected Job Growth||Total Employment||Annual Salary|
|Atmospheric and Space Scientists||38.8%||60||$91,840|
|Personal Financial Advisors||36.8%||1,060||$114,190|
|Physical Therapist Assistants||35.7%||430||$59,360|
|Home Health Aides||35.1%||690||$27,960|
|Physical Therapist Aides||31.9%||140||$34,750|
|Occupational Therapy Aides||31.3%||50||$35,660|
|Occupational Therapy Assistants||28.6%||160||$55,440|
|Cartographers and Photogrammetrists||28.4%||110||$52,440|
|Interpreters and Translators||27.9%||120||$47,590|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors||27.2%||-||-|
|Film and Video Editors||25.9%||120||$77,730|
|Septic Tank Servicers and Sewer Pipe Cleaners||25.8%||170||$39,030|
|Forensic Science Technicians||25.6%||40||$68,990|
|Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal and Plastic||25.2%||230||$58,790|
|Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic||25%||2,620||$43,790|
|Information Security Analysts||24.7%||350||$100,750|
|Security and Fire Alarm Systems Installers||23.7%||380||$45,390|
|Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers||23.6%||260||$51,720|
|Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics||23%||1,270||$37,080|
Financial Aid and Scholarships in New Hampshire
Students heading to New Hampshire colleges and universities can apply for federal loans, grants and work-study programs. There is also aid available specifically to state residents. The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation awards more than $5 million each year, making it the largest provider of publicly available scholarships in the state. Money through the foundation is available for adult learners, technical students and traditional students.
MAX. AWARD AMOUNT
Renewable up to three times.
MAX. AWARD AMOUNT
MAX. AWARD AMOUNT
MAX. AWARD AMOUNT
- University System of New Hampshire
- Community College System of New Hampshire
- Independent Schools Association of Northern New England
- New Hampshire College & University Council
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- NHHEAF Network
- NH Transfer
To get our list of the best colleges, we ranked 1,649 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S. Each school was scored on a 100-point scale, using the most recent data available from government sources. Our data points include:
- The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- The estimated cost of books and supplies, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- The average net price for students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
- The average net price for low-income students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
- The average amount of institutional grant aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduate students as a percentage of in-state tuition and fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
- Median debt of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
- 3-year student loan repayment rate of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
- No. of degree and certificate programs offered, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- No. of degree and certificate programs offered via distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Percent of students enrolled in any distance education classes, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Average retention rate for full-time and part-time students, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2015-16
- Graduation rate within six years, 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
- Programs of study that can be completed entirely on weekends or in the evening
- Remedial services
- Academic and career counseling
- Job placement services for graduates
- Guaranteed tuition plan
- Tuition payment plan
- Any other alternative tuition plan