In the following ranking, we examine the best affordable colleges in New Hampshire for bachelor’s degrees. Despite its size, New Hampshire is known as one of New England’s most well-rounded states in terms of higher education. In fact, colleges in New Hampshire come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from the intellectually rigorous Dartmouth, the academically accessible Plymouth State, the secular Keene State to the religious Saint Anselm, the large University of New Hampshire to the small Thomas More. With so many academic options situated in such a small state, it is easy for prospective students to find value everywhere they turn. However, the following 15 colleges and universities are among the best in the state for students seeking a comfortable balance between affordability and quality.
To get our initial list of schools to include in the following ranking, we conducted a search for colleges in New Hampshire offering bachelor’s degrees using the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) website and its College Navigator tool. From there, we awarded points based on three features that most students look for in a program and school: tuition rates, student-to-faculty ratios, and graduation rates. We identified these three areas as a way to measure affordability, class size, and student success with the ultimate goal of finding the highest quality programs that won’t break the bank. Once we gathered our schools, we checked each institution’s website to ensure the information we had obtained from the NCES was accurate and up-to-date.
Average Cost of Attendance
One of the first things you might find yourself looking at in a program is the average cost of attendance. After all, it is important to make sure you can even afford the program before you dig into majors, extracurriculars, and housing. Although it might be tempting to immediately choose the cheapest college in New Hampshire just to save money, in the long run, you will be paying for a degree that is ultimately useless if the school does not provide a program in your major. Therefore, research what the school has to offer as well as the quality of its programs in relation to tuition to try to find a happy medium. Below, we have ranked tuition rates based on how much an in-state student can expect to pay for one year of study, according to NCES. We also provided out-of-state tuition rates for your reference.
Under $7,500: 3 points
$7,500 to $15,000: 2 points
$15,001 and above: 1 point
Next, think about class size as it relates to each school’s student-to-faculty ratio. Are you looking for a large state university that offers hundreds of majors to choose from, or will you thrive in a small private college with fewer course offerings but more opportunities for one-on-one relationships with your peers and professors? Since each student is different, it is important to consider your own academic background and personal priorities as you keep student-to-faculty ratios in mind. We awarded points as indicated below, offering the highest number to schools with the lowest ratios and, therefore, the smallest classes, as reported by the NCES.
10:1 or less: 3 points
11:1 to 15:1: 2 points
Greater than 15:1: 1 point
Finally, we used each school’s graduation rate from NCES as a measure of student success. Although there are always exceptions to this “rule,” in most cases, colleges and universities with high graduation rates are doing something right to keep their students happy. As a result, students are more likely to stay at that institution, complete their requirements, and earn their degree. After all, that is the ultimate goal. These schools may be offering more affordable programs than other institutions, employing more experienced faculty, or offering more academic support to help students succeed. Therefore, we awarded the most points to schools that reported high graduation rates based on the ranges below.
More than 50 percent: 3 points
Between 30 percent and 50 percent: 2 points
Less than 30 percent: 1 point
Ranking Top 15 Best Affordable Colleges in New Hampshire
15. New England College
Henniker, New Hampshire
New England College is a private accredited college in New Hampshire that enrolls approximately 1,000 on-campus and 900 online undergraduate students as well as 900 graduate students from across the globe. NEC confers 37 low-cost bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s programs, and one doctoral degree, each of which is delivered in the liberal arts tradition with an emphasis on experiential learning. The most popular top-value degree programs by undergraduate enrollment include business, criminal justice, biology and the health sciences, and psychology as well as education, kinesiology, and sport and recreation management. Situated 15 minutes from Concord, 30 minutes from Manchester, and 90 minutes from Boston, students have benefitted from more than 1,000 internship opportunities, hands-on training, and ongoing access to real-world experiences. Residence halls, meeting spaces, and classrooms share the surrounding beauty of the 220-acre campus and the Contoocook River. Activities include more than 40 clubs and organizations, numerous intramural sports, and 18 varsity sports as well as endless events and on-campus celebrations.
In-State Tuition: $37,914
Out-of-State Tuition: $37,914
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Graduation Rate: 28 percent
14. Franklin Pierce University
Rindge, New Hampshire
Franklin Pierce University is a private institution of higher education that sits in-between Mount Monadnock and Pearly Pond in Rindge, New Hampshire. Founded in 1962 as Franklin Pierce College, this affordable university in New Hampshire consists of a 1,200-acre residential College at Rindge, the College of Business, and the College of Graduate and Professional Studies which offers best-value distance learning programs and operates campuses across the state and in Goodyear, Arizona. FPU confers economical undergraduate and graduate degrees that integrate liberal arts and professional programs, including popular high-value majors such as the visual and performing arts, education, the biological and biomedical sciences, the health professions, and business. Every student who is accepted to the College at Rindge receives some type of financial aid to help offset the cost of tuition, and FPU awards more than $30 million in institutional scholarships and grants each year. FPU is home to NCAA Division II athletic teams who have earned six national championships and 47 conference championships.
In-State Tuition: $36,900
Out-of-State Tuition: $36,900
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Graduation Rate: 50 percent
13. Southern New Hampshire University
Manchester, New Hampshire
Established in 1932 as a school of accounting and secretarial science, Southern New Hampshire University is an affordable accredited university in New Hampshire that boasts an 80-year history of providing high-quality academic programs to on-campus and online students. The school’s 300-acre campus is located in Manchester, New Hampshire and is home to more than 3,000 students. SNHU also offers accessible, inexpensive degrees to more than 90,000 distance learners. Students can choose from more than 200 low-cost degree programs, from certificates to doctorates, in fields such as the social sciences, the liberal arts, education, business, and STEM. U.S. News & World Report has recognized SNHU as one of the most innovative universities in the North as well as one of the best regional universities in the nation. In addition to providing rigorous academic programs, SNHU is known for its continuing dedication to career development, and it offers countless opportunities for students to participate in student organizations, internships, sports, and more.
In-State Tuition: $31,136
Out-of-State Tuition: $31,136
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 28:1
Graduation Rate: 54 percent
12. University of New Hampshire
Durham, New Hampshire
The University of New Hampshire is a public land-, sea-, and space-grant research university that operates a main campus in Durham as well as campuses in Manchester and Concord. Founded in 1866 as a land-grant college, UNH is the flagship campus of the University System of New Hampshire, the largest university system in the state. Students at this affordable college in New Hampshire can choose from more than 200 economical areas of study in fields as diverse as the liberal arts, marine science, agriculture, and engineering as well as an affordable dual major in ecogastronomy, the first program of its kind in the nation. UNH is an ideal choice for those who wish to explore the outdoors, and students can take advantage of hiking excursions in Mendum’s Pond or College Woods as well as trips to the nearby Seacoast and the White Mountains. In fact, the school’s outdoor education program is the only one of its kind in the U.S. to offer a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology with a concentration in outdoor education.
In-State Tuition: $18,499
Out-of-State Tuition: $18,499
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Graduation Rate: 77 percent
11. University of New Hampshire at Manchester
Manchester, New Hampshire
The University of New Hampshire at Manchester is recognized among the most affordable universities in New Hampshire. Established in 1985 as the sixth college of the University System of New Hampshire, the school is located in Manchester, the largest city in the state, which provides many opportunities for a vibrant student life, including sporting events, museums, and concerts. On the campus, students may participate in athletics, student committees, organizations, and clubs. UNH Manchester focuses on experiential learning and career-driven programs, and undergraduates can choose from more than 20 inexpensive bachelor’s degrees, including biotechnology, communication arts, computer science, homeland security, and a new program in public service and nonprofit leadership. Other notable low-cost options include American Sign Language, electrical engineering technology, and neuropsychology. UNH Manchester is home to 16 state-of-the-art studios and laboratories, and the school works with the Federal Work-Study Program, Wildcat Careers, and Pathways Mentoring to provide career and internship opportunities.
In-State Tuition: $15,265
Out-of-State Tuition: $30,635
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Graduation Rate: 41 percent
10. Granite State College
Concord, New Hampshire
Granite State College, located in Concord, is a public institution of higher learning and a member of the University System of New Hampshire. Established in 1972, GSC focuses on educating adult, nontraditional, and working students, and it is ranked among the most affordable colleges in New Hampshire. In addition to its main campus, GSC also offers cheap online delivery of degree programs and courses as well as instructional locations throughout the state in Conway, Manchester, Rochester, Lebanon, and Nashua. Areas of interest in which students may pursue an inexpensive degree include healthcare and nursing, human services and public safety, communications and media, technology, the liberal arts, education, and business, management, and finance. The school is recognized as a military-friendly institution, and more than 13% of its students are veterans and service-members.
In-State Tuition: $7,761
Out-of-State Tuition: $8,745
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Graduation Rate: 23 percent
9. Saint Anselm College
Manchester, New Hampshire
Saint Anselm College, located on a 380-acre campus in Manchester, is a Benedictine, liberal arts college that enrolls more than 2,000 students each year. Established in 1889, Saint Anselm is founded in the Benedictine tradition of transformation through a nurturing education that nourishes the whole student. The school offers 45 top-value majors and 52 minors as well as several pre-professional programs designed to prepare students to pursue advanced studies in theology, medicine, law, dentistry, and engineering. Saint Anselm students needn’t worry about going hungry; the school is ranked as the eighth-best in the nation for its campus food, according to The Princeton Review. Students may participate in 20 intercollegiate athletic teams or 60 clubs and organizations, and Saint Anselm offers opportunities for more than 4,000 jobs and internships through its career center. Saint Anselm is recognized among the most affordable colleges in New Hampshire, and 98 percent of students receive some form of financial aid. Approximately 99 percent of graduates are either in service, in school, or employed within six months of graduation.
In-State Tuition: $41,200
Out-of-State Tuition: $41,200
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Graduation Rate: 77 percent
8. Rivier University
Nashua, New Hampshire
Located on a 68-acre campus in Nashua, Rivier University is a top-value affordable private university in New Hampshire. This Catholic liberal arts school was established in 1933 as Rivier College by the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary in Hudson, the school then moved to its current location in 1941 and became Rivier University in 2012. Today, Rivier offers an exciting mixture of affordable academic degrees in professional studies and the liberal arts and sciences to more than 2,200 students. Each top-value program reflects the school’s commitment to peace and social justice, Catholic values and ethics, and the life of the mind. Students can choose from more than 50 low-cost undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate, and doctoral degrees in areas such as human development, business, psychology, education, and nursing. Rivier also emphasizes accessibility; working, non-traditional students can take advantage of hybrid and online programs, and evening classes.
In-State Tuition: $32,140
Out-of-State Tuition: $32,140
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Graduation Rate: 51 percent
7. New Hampshire Institute of Art
Manchester, New Hampshire
Founded in 1898 as the Manchester Institute of Arts and Sciences, the New Hampshire Institute of Art is a private college of creative arts located in Manchester. Students may pursue a best-value Bachelor of Fine Arts degree that includes an intensive, studio-focused curriculum, professional practice opportunities, and strong liberal arts classes. Areas of study at this top-value college in New Hampshire include ceramics, comic arts, creative writing, and fine arts as well as graphic design, illustration, photography, printmaking, and user experience (UX) design. An economical dual degree in art education in which students earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree is also available. Outside of the classroom, there are a handful of clubs that students can join to stay busy; undergraduates may find themselves dancing the night away at a masquerade ball, finding their zen at a free yoga session, or grabbing the microphone at an on-campus poetry slam.
In-State Tuition: $28,080
Out-of-State Tuition: $28,080
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 8:1
Graduation Rate: 47 percent
6. Plymouth State University
Plymouth, New Hampshire
Founded in 1871 as Plymouth Normal School, Plymouth State University is a public institution of higher education located on a 170-acre campus in Plymouth. This affordable college in New Hampshire enrolls more than 4,300 undergraduate students and offers a student-focused setting in which students have the opportunity to design their inexpensive degrees according to their professional goals and individual interests. Students may also pursue a number of unique areas of study such as adventure education, cell and molecular biology, electromechanical technology and robotics, tourism management and policy, and youth development and education. Plymouth State is known among the best low-cost schools in New Hampshire for its campus involvement, and it is home to a new Active Living, Learning, and Wellness (ALLWell) Center as well as an Outdoor Center, where students can borrow equipment for their adventures free of charge. With its proximity to the Lakes Region and the White Mountain National Forest, it is ideal for students seeking to enjoy the great outdoors while earning their degree.
In-State Tuition: $14,099
Out-of-State Tuition: $22,769
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Graduation Rate: 53 percent
5. Dartmouth College
Hanover, New Hampshire
Dartmouth College, located in Hanover, is a private Ivy League research university and one of the top-ranked colleges in the country. Established in 1769 to educate Native Americans in Christian theology and the English way of life, Dartmouth is the ninth-oldest institution of higher education in the country. The school declares creativity to be at the heart of its academic offerings, and students may pursue either a high-value Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Engineering at the undergraduate level. The School of Arts & Sciences confers more than 40 affordable degrees in the social sciences, arts and humanities, and sciences as well as interdisciplinary programs in quantitative social science and comparative literature. Dartmouth is home to more than 50 research centers and institutes as well as several arts centers, including the Hood Museum of Art, and it supports initiatives such as ensemble performances and student-run art groups. Students also have many opportunities to engage in study-abroad programs or work experience to supplement their classroom learning.
In-State Tuition: $55,453
Out-of-State Tuition: $55,453
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 7:1
Graduation Rate: 95 percent
4. Colby-Sawyer College
New London, New Hampshire
Located in New London, Colby-Sawyer College is a private accredited college in New Hampshire that began as New London Academy in 1837. Today, the school enrolls around 1,000 undergraduate students and offers low-cost academic degrees that blend professional experience with the liberal arts and sciences. Students who are undeclared may choose a theme-based, interdisciplinary First-Year Symposium to explore one or more topics before settling on an economical area of study. Students can choose from 20 high-value majors and 26 minors in popular areas of study such as business, nursing, biology, child development, and environmental science. Students may participate in NCAA Division III athletics, intramural sports, and a number of clubs and organizations devoted to hobbies, special interests, and academics. Colby-Sawyer boasts one of the most scenic campuses out of all New Hampshire universities and colleges, with beautiful views of lakes, forests, and mountains just 90 minutes from Boston.
In-State Tuition: $42,398
Out-of-State Tuition: $42,398
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
Graduation Rate: 61 percent
3. Northeast Catholic College
Warner, New Hampshire
Northeast Catholic College is a private Roman Catholic liberal arts college located in Warner. The low-cost private college in New Hampshire is known for its deep integration of the Catholic faith and liberal education within a vibrant community, and it offers a unique high-value curriculum that engages students in the close reading and discussion of the classic great books. Students may choose from five inexpensive majors at the undergraduate level: theology, politics, philosophy, literature, and an interdisciplinary great books major. Each major course is organized by either a theme or a historical period. Juniors must complete a Junior Project, while seniors can choose to either write a thesis or complete an independent study portfolio project. Students enjoy an incredible 7:1 student-to-faculty ratio that produces opportunities for one-on-one relationships and learning. The school is also home to a close-knit community which offers off-campus adventures and on-campus events, including concerts, plays, speakers, retreats, sports, bonfires, dinners, dances, and more.
In-State Tuition: $24,000
Out-of-State Tuition: $24,000
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 7:1
Graduation Rate: 69 percent
2. Thomas More College of Liberal Arts
Merrimack, New Hampshire
Located in Merrimack, the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts emphasizes classical education in the Catholic intellectual tradition. Established in 1878 and named for Saint Thomas More, the low-cost college in New Hampshire enrolls more than 2,200 undergraduate, graduate, dual-credit, and adult students each year. Thomas More College is unique in that it only offers an undergraduate degree in the liberal arts. The school follows a “great books” approach that roots ideas in concrete reality and enables students to engage the world. The inexpensive degree program involves reading the finest works of civilization from Antiquity through the Middle Ages and into the Modern Age. The curriculum comes alive through extracurricular activities such as life-changing internships, icon-painting, woodworking, music, naturalistic drawing, and more. Upper-level tutorials enable students to work with a professor in the creation of a course of study designed to meet their individual academic interests.
In-State Tuition: $21,600
Out-of-State Tuition: $21,600
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
Graduation Rate: 30 percent
1. Keene State College
Keene, New Hampshire
Established in 1909 as a teacher’s college, Keene State College is a public liberal arts college and ranked as the best affordable college in New Hampshire. Located in Keene, the school is a member of the University System of New Hampshire. At Keene State, students can choose from a number of low-cost academic programs across more than 40 areas of study, including the humanities, the arts, STEM fields, professional degrees, and more. Outside of the classroom, students may take advantage of academic support services and many professional growth, leadership, and volunteer opportunities as well as more than 100 student-run organizations. Keene State is nationally recognized for its commitment to sustainability. It is recognized by The Princeton Review for being one of the top green colleges in the country, and it ranks on Sierra CLub’s list of most eco-literate colleges. In 2017, Keene State received the designation of “Green Ribbon School” by the U.S. Department of Education.
In-State Tuition: $14,212
Out-of-State Tuition: $23,176
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Graduation Rate: 60 percent
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Most In-Demand Careers in New Hampshire for Graduates with a Bachelor’s Degree?
According to the New Hampshire Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau (ELMI), the following are the top 10 most in-demand careers in New Hampshire that require an associate degree or higher as well as the number of annual openings anticipated between 2016 and 2026:
- Registered Nurses: 906
- Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education: 333
- Paralegals and Legal Assistants: 137
- Dental Hygienists: 97
- Veterinary Technologists and Technicians: 96
- Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians: 93
- Physical Therapist Assistants: 91
- Web Developers: 62
- Human Resources Assistants, Except Payroll and Timekeeping: 51
- Architectural and Civil Drafters: 50
In addition, ELMI provides information related to short-term employment projections from 2018 to 2020. The top 11 occupations with the highest number of new jobs for bachelor’s recipients include software developers for applications, general and operations managers, and financial managers as well as market research analysts and specialists and accountants and auditors. The bottom six include all other managers and all other business operations specialists, sales representatives, management analysts, electrical engineers, and civil engineers.
What are the Highest-Paying Jobs in New Hampshire?
It can be helpful to know which occupations pay well and which occupations might not be worth the financial investment, particularly if you are struggling to decide between majors. By the same token, if you know the career path you wish to take, understanding salary expectations can help provide a better sense of where you may be as you prepare to enter the workforce. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual mean wage across all occupations, industries, and regions throughout New Hampshire was $52,350 as of May 2018. The top five highest-paying jobs include physicians and surgeons, internists, and family and general practitioners followed by obstetricians and gynecologists as well as dentists.
We also took a look at the occupations that undergraduates could pursue immediately after graduating from a college or university in New Hampshire. The following are 10 six-figure jobs that require only a bachelor’s degree or a bachelor’s degree and some additional training and/or experience.
- Chief Executives: $180,250
- Architectural and Engineering Managers: $158,150
- Sales Managers: $152,120
- Computer and Information Systems Managers: $147,440
- Air Traffic Controllers: $147,350
- Marketing Managers: $141,630
- Industrial Production Managers: $133,840
- Actuaries: $129,110
- Training and Development Managers: $127,690
- Purchasing Managers: $127,540
What are the Best Schools in New Hampshire for Bachelor’s Recipients?
In this section, we identify the best schools in New Hampshire in terms of future earnings. After all, paying for college is one of the biggest purchases you will make in your lifetime, so it is important to make the best decision possible and ensure the money you spend will pay off down the road. Students who attend a school in the Granite State not only enjoy proximity to the coast but also some of the top-ranked institutions of higher education in the country. Below, we ranked the top five colleges and universities in New Hampshire based on early-career pay and mid-career earnings that were calculated for graduates who earned a bachelor’s degree. We listed the schools in order from the highest 20-year net return on investment (ROI) to the lowest ROI, which was calculated using figures over a 20-year period for in-state students who earned a bachelor’s without financial assistance, according to PayScale.
- 1. Dartmouth College
– 20-Year Net ROI: $707,000
– Early Career Pay: $68,900
– Mid-Career Pay: $137,500
- 2. University of New Hampshire
– 20-Year Net ROI: $343,000
– Early Career Pay: $52,600
– Mid-Career Pay: $99,600
- 3. Saint Anselm College
– 20-Year Net ROI: $287,000
– Early Career Pay: $54,900
– Mid-Career Pay: $98,800
- 4. Rivier University
– 20-Year Net ROI: $282,000
– Early Career Pay: $49,900
– Mid-Career Pay: $80,800
- 5. Keene State College
– 20-Year Net ROI: $214,000
– Early Career Pay: $48,100
– Mid-Career Pay: $79,600
Dartmouth College is the smallest school in the Ivy League, but that intimate feel does not prevent this school from offering the highest ROI on our list. Famous alumni include poet Robert Frost and former U.S. Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller. On the other hand, students looking for a larger institution of higher education may consider the University of New Hampshire in Durham. Due to its relatively close location to the close, many students pursue majors in oceanography and marine biology, and it is ranked as one of the top 10 institutions in the nation for outdoorsy undergraduates.
The Granite State is studded with some of the best skiing in the area as well as numerous quaint, small towns. Whether you are looking to pursue a degree in New Hampshire or simply because you love the great outdoors, there are plenty of smart financial choices that can pay off after you enter the workforce. We hope that our list of the best affordable colleges in New Hampshire for bachelor’s degrees helps you narrow down schools to find the one that best meets your needs.
This concludes our ranking of the top 15 best affordable colleges in New Hampshire for bachelor’s degrees.
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