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The Community College System of New Hampshire, Granite State College and the NH Department of Education join forces to support adult education
Concord, NH – The Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH), Granite State College (GSC) and the New Hampshire Department of Education's Bureau of Adult Education have come together to step up efforts to encourage adult education students and graduates of adult education programs to enroll in NH colleges and to succeed in achieving their educational goals.
Charles Annal, Vice Chancellor of CCSNH, Tessa McDonnell, Dean of Learner Services for Granite State College and Art Ellison, Administrator of the Bureau of Adult Education, recently signed an agreement to support coordinated efforts throughout the state.
The agreement is the culmination of a two-year adult education and college transitions project funded by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. The institutions within the state's Community College System, along with Granite State College and the state Department of Education, will work to develop a seamless referral system for adult education graduates, to provide clear expectations for entry into college programs, to facilitate participation in college transition courses for adult education students and to support mentoring and counseling for non-traditional postsecondary education students.
"The Community Colleges, Granite State College and the Department of Education form a formidable team, armed with the goal of helping adult students who are progressing through non-traditional pathways to enroll and be successful in college," said Art Ellison of the NH Department of Education. "We recognize that postsecondary education is an important next step for many of our graduates, but that many are fearful of taking the step. We look forward to working with postsecondary partners to smooth this transition and allay fears."
Bureau of Adult Education: Supporting and Empowering Adult Learners
Adult education programs funded by the NH Department of Education provide services to over 8,000 adults annually, and many of those who earn an adult high school diploma, pass GED® Tests or develop advanced English skills have the goal of entering postsecondary education. The transition is not always easy, as these students may have multiple responsibilities, little disposable income and no family history of college success or experience in college preparatory classes.
To ease the transition, those enrolled in adult education programs focus on improving their basic academic skills, achieving a Adult High School Diploma or a GED with individual goals ranging from enrolling in postsecondary education, obtaining employment and/or becoming fully engaged members of their communities. The adult education programs supported by the Department of Education are located in communities around the state and provided at the local level by school districts and private non-profit organizations.
Ellison noted that the Bureau of Adult Education has already begun providing more support services and college preparatory classes for students interested in going on to college, in support of this collective effort.
Community College System: Extending Running Start
Meanwhile, the Community College System will extend its Running Start program to adult education centers, enabling students to take classes that satisfy both secondary and college requirements and earn students credits on a college transcript, according to Dr. Annal of CCSNH.
"The Running Start program has been very successful at giving traditional high school students a jump on college coursework and a bridge to their college education," said Annal. "We are confident that students in New Hampshire's adult education programs can thrive and benefit from the same opportunity to save on college costs and earn college credits while also satisfying their GED requirements."
"The community colleges serve students of all ages and educational backgrounds," Annal said. "Reaching out to adult education centers reflects a central part of our mission to provide opportunities for NH residents to access college programs and career training. This benefits NH's economy through the development of a strong and skilled workforce, particularly as baby-boomers across a variety of industries prepare to retire."
The Community College System of NH consists of seven colleges located throughout the state, offering associate degree and certificate programs, short-term professional training, and transfer pathways to bachelor degrees. The system's colleges are Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth; Lakes Region Community College in Laconia; Manchester Community College; Nashua Community College; NHTI – Concord's Community College; River Valley Community College in Claremont and Keene; and White Mountains Community College in Berlin.
Granite State College: The College for Adults
Granite State College, one of the four University System of New Hampshire institutions, focuses mostly on the adult learner, offering creative course delivery, including weekend intensives and online classes, to accommodate students who, more often than not, are juggling full time jobs, families and other commitments. GSC is no stranger to helping students transition from the workforce into college.
"Granite State College is uniquely poised to serve the state's adult learners," said McDonnell. "We offer seamless transfer opportunities from institutions like the Community College, so we're a natural choice for adults looking to finish up their degrees. And, we understand how daunting college can be; we're here to allay fears and tell students: You can do it."
GSC serves over 3,500 students across the state, delivering practical and relevant education in the classroom and online. GSC offers associate and bachelor degrees, post-baccalaureate programs for teacher education and transfer opportunities. Following its mission of providing access to public higher education to adult learners of all ages across the state, GSC has four regional centers in Conway, Claremont, Concord and Rochester, and five educational sites located in Berlin, Manchester, Littleton, Portsmouth and Lebanon.
"We're thrilled to continue to create methods and means for adults to achieve their higher education goals and proud to join forces with our partners in this endeavor," said McDonnell.