Gift to the Class of 2021: Foundations team-up to offer free community college course for all NH high school grads

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CONCORD, NH – As New Hampshire’s high school Class of 2021 prepares for graduation, two philanthropic foundations are offering every member of that class an early graduation gift: a free class at any of New Hampshire’s seven community colleges in the fall.

The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and The Foundation for New Hampshire Community Colleges are partnering to give New Hampshire students a head start on their college careers. This commitment includes more than $1 million from the two Foundations along with additional support, advising and other services from the community colleges to help students on educational pathways across the state. 

“New Hampshire’s graduating seniors should be incredibly proud, and you should know that New Hampshire is proud of you,” said Richard Ober, president and CEO of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. “You have persevered to finish your high school careers under extraordinarily challenging circumstances. We hope that this gift, made possible by hundreds of generous New Hampshire people who are rooting for you, will help you take the next step toward your dreams.”

“Today’s announcement is a big step to help New Hampshire high school students get a foot in the door and discover new and exciting career pathways,” said New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu. “The work that has been undertaken by the Community College System and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation will open doors and provide a unique opportunity to New Hampshire high school seniors.”

Any student graduating from a New Hampshire high school in 2021 is eligible to take a three-credit course of their choice, including courses that are part of certificate programs that prepare students to enter skilled trades, at no cost to them, at any of the seven colleges in the Community College System of NH (CCSNH). No standardized tests are required. The Foundations’ gift covers tuition and associated fees. The colleges will work with students to help with course selection and other types of advising. 

“I am grateful for the generosity that made this class gift possible, and for the recognition of the impact this pandemic year has had on students completing high school during a very challenging time,” said Susan Huard, CCSNH interim chancellor. “I hope New Hampshire students take advantage of this wonderful opportunity not only to gain a free course but also put themselves on a path to college success at institutions that are ready and eager to help them take that next step.” 

The goal of the gift is to give students an easy entry point into higher education and onto a pathway to a rewarding career that will help them to thrive.

“Today’s graduating seniors have endured unprecedented disruption,” said Michael Turmelle, director of education and career initiatives at the Charitable Foundation. “They have been separated from all of the usual in-school experiences and services that graduating seniors can usually count on. We wanted to create an easy way for students to take this important step toward their future success.”

To enroll, eligible students should contact the admissions office at their local community college. Academic counselors will be available to help students choose courses. Students can choose an online, hybrid or in-person class. Graduating seniors who have already enrolled at a CCSNH college for the fall are also eligible for the class gift.

“I am really excited for our incoming students, and they are very deserving of this gift. I know that we change lives when our students graduate. It is exciting that we can set the class of 2021 on a path to college and careers right here in their local New Hampshire communities,” said Alfred Williams, president of River Valley Community College.

For more information on the “Gift to the Class of 2021,” visit 

Watch the “Gift to the Class of 2021” announcement video below

About the Foundation for New Hampshire Community Colleges
The Foundation is a charitable organization established to provide greater access to educational opportunities through financial assistance for student scholarships, program development and enhancements to facilities across New Hampshire’s seven community colleges, which serve students in every region of the state. The Foundation actively seeks contributions from public and private sources to create scholarships and program partnerships that prepare students for in-demand, skilled jobs to meet the needs in the workforce. To learn more about supporting community college students, visit