The budget that the GOP supermajority in the House and Senate agreed upon is irresponsible and immoral in a number of areas. Increasing the budget shortfall by making a cancer-causing substance cheaper is particularly egregious, to use just one example. But let’s look at one effect the Republican crafted budget will have on our young adults and their future.
New Hampshire is already dead last in state funding for public university systems. According to the most recent State Higher Education Final Report, we as a state give exactly one third the national average to support our college system (p.51).
Yet no other state comes close to our 28.3% percent increase of full-time enrolled students between 2005-2010, almost twice the national average (p.30). Likely thanks to the successful efforts of Governor Lynch to reduce the dropout rate, more and more of New Hampshire’s young people are investing in their future by going to college. Yet those going to UNH or Plymouth or Keene State or NHTI are likely paying more and taking more out in loans than their public higher ed peers nationally. This is the situation as it stands currently.
The budget bill will take our already embarrassing contribution to higher education and cripple it, cutting it by almost half. This decision by the GOP supermajority is a scandal bordering on dereliction of duty. Make no mistake: the resulting deep cuts in programs and jobs, the steep spike in tuition, will fall on New Hampshire students, some of whom, despite their best efforts, will be unable to complete their degrees. What will these lost opportunities mean for their future and New Hampshire’s future?
"If you look at wage data, what you see is that people with college degrees are making more and more and more money, and basically everyone else is either staying the same or falling back."
Carey says college graduates were less likely to be unemployed before the current recession started and less likely to lose their jobs after the recession happened.
"And in fact, … college graduates … are the only segment of the economy where employment has actually gotten better during the first five months of this year," he says.
Of course, another option to dropping out is transfering. Perversely, if this budget becomes law, a number of public universities in other states will have out-of-state tuition that is cheaper than what Granite Staters would pay here in-state. These students in turn will spend their formative years out of state and be poised to begin their professional lives growing economies in places other than New Hampshire.
I repeat: this is a scandal, bordering on dereliction of duty. Shame on us all if this becomes reality - it will be a significant failure to provide adequately for our children and our economic future, and a serious black mark against New Hampshire’s notable quality of life and renown as a great place to raise children.