NH community colleges expand ‘NoLo’ program to reduce student textbook costs in 2020-21

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Manchester Community College is one of seven schools in the CCSNH offering associate degree and certificate programs, professional training, transfer pathways to four-year degrees, and dual-credit partnerships with NH high schools.

MANCHESTER, NH — Even before the pandemic, the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) worked to help students save on textbook costs, which can be unpredictable and among the highest non-tuition expenses for students. Now reducing financial burdens on students during these complicated and challenging times, is more important than ever.  

This academic year, New Hampshire Community Colleges throughout the state have expanded and enhanced their “NoLo” courses which feature “no- or low-cost” course materials (under $40). Most of the NoLo resources are available online rather than in print and are also called Open Educational Resources (or “OER”.) Statewide, 45 percent of all NH Community College students are registered in “NoLo” courses this fall, compared to 22 percent last year.   

 “We recognize the financial challenges facing students seeking new career paths or beginning their higher education journey,” said Susan Huard, Interim Chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire. “We are confident that reducing the cost of textbooks will help students succeed.”  

The NoLo trend is happening throughout all CCSNH colleges and in a variety of academic programs. For example, at Manchester Community College NoLo classes increased by 52 percent from last year. There are 72 unique “NoLo” courses at MCC, offered in 189 sections and used by more than 2,000 MCC students.  This represents two-thirds of all students attending classes in person or online this fall semester.  

Both faculty and students say NoLo resources have been a game-changer.  The MCC Department of Business Studies began incorporating Open Educational Resources in the Fall of 2018. “Students have responded positively to the supplemental materials integrated into their courses and were relieved when they learned that their textbooks were free,” says Chari Henry-Wilson, Chair of the MCC Business Studies department. “Depending on when a student had ordered the textbook, it could potentially take up to three weeks before they would receive the book. By integrating OER, all students start the semester with the vital resources required for the course, essentially reducing time and stress in searching for the lowest priced book through a third party.”  

Rick Conway of Dover, is a first-year Management major at MCC, returning to school after 20 years. He estimates that the NoLo materials he’s using in three of his Business courses save him almost $800, compared to what he spent on traditional textbooks last summer.  

“Since I’m trying to pay for my books out of pocket each semester, this has been a big relief,” Conway says. “Another advantage is not having to carry three heavy textbooks. My current position at work allows my to do my reading on my downtime, so having the books online has been a huge help.”  

About Community College System of New Hampshire:

The Community College System of NH consists of seven colleges, offering associate degree and certificate programs, professional training, transfer pathways to four-year degrees, and dual-credit partnerships with NH high schools. The System’s colleges are Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth and Rochester; Lakes Region Community College in Laconia; Manchester Community College; Nashua Community College; NHTI – Concord’s Community College; River Valley Community College in Claremont, Lebanon and Keene; and White Mountains Community College in Berlin, Littleton and North Conway.  The seven community colleges in the system are committed to working with businesses throughout the state to train and retain employees to develop a robust workforce across all sectors and embraces the “65 by 25 Initiative,” which calls for 65 percent of NH citizens to have some form of postsecondary education by 2025 to meet future workforce demands.

About Manchester Community College:

Manchester Community College is part of the Community College System of New Hampshire and offers more than 65 associate degree and certificate programs for transfer and career training in the areas of: Arts, Humanities and Communication; Business; Education, Social and Behavioral Science; Health Science and Services; Industry and Transportation; and STEM and Advanced Manufacturing. MCC also offers non-credit professional and workforce development, and customized corporate training. For more information, visit www.mccnh.edu.

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Community College System of NH