Southern New Hampshire University is beginning an experiment in no-frills higher education, offering four-year university coursework for $10,000 a year at a satellite campus just 20 miles south of the school's main campus in Manchester, the Boston Globe reports.
Southern New Hampshire is at the forefront of a push by some colleges around the country to provide a no-frills, lower-cost education for students who don't mind forgoing traditional college life and its accompanying amenities, particularly during a recession, as long as they get a diploma.
At a college stripped to its academic core, some higher education leaders worry that students are missing the dearly held residential experience. For generations, glossy brochures have touted the ideal of spending four years ambling along leafy quads and partaking in deep discussions with dormmates late into the night.
"Families come to campus and they want to see a food court, a fitness center with a climbing wall, and brand-new dorms," said Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire. "So we build everything, each one nicer than the other, to remain competitive."
But, LeBlanc added: "I'm not sure that improves education. It just drives the price up. Not everybody needs it, and frankly, not everybody can afford it."
Daniel Webster College offers a similar tuition break, and the public university system in Pennsylvania is considering creating four-year colleges sans dorms, athletics, and extracurriculars.