The University of New Hampshire is committed to building partnerships that foster education at every age. That’s why we’ve launched UNH First Step, a concurrent credit program that allows New Hampshire high school students to earn UNH credit at their high schools. The program brings high school and college educators together with the shared goal to advance academic excellence and opportunity for New Hampshire students.
UNH First Step launched in fall 2019 as a two-year pilot at Pinkerton Academy, where juniors and seniors can earn UNH credit in select communication arts and computer science courses. UNH Manchester and the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (CEPS) in Durham are also working with several high schools in their respective locales on similar curricula. Once the two-year pilot is successfully completed, the goal is to continue to expand to high schools throughout the state.
“The ultimate goal of UNH First Step is to make college more accessible to New Hampshire students. When students choose to stay here, they become part of the workforce engine that strengthens our state’s economy.”
- MIKE DECELLE, DEAN OF UNH MANCHESTER
Frequently Asked Questions
Economic development is at the core of the University’s mission, and UNH First Step directly supports one of UNH’s recently announced four strategic priorities: Embrace New Hampshire. The long-term objective of UNH First Step is to encourage New Hampshire students to pursue their education and career in the state by fostering academic opportunities at every education level. By providing New Hampshire high school students with the opportunity to earn early University credit, the goal is to increase interest in and accessibility to four-year colleges and universities in the state.
UNH and the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) have a shared mission to expand academic options for New Hampshire students. Both programs bring college-level courses into New Hampshire high school classrooms to enable students to simultaneously earn high school and college credit. Running Start participants earn Community College System of New Hampshire credits and UNH First Step participants earn UNH credits, both of which are accepted at a wide variety of institutions. Both programs are available to high school juniors and seniors, however, to align with UNH admission standards, UNH First Step participants must have an overall “B” average and be on track to be admissible to a four-year college. During the pilot, UNH First Step will only be available at high schools where UNH faculty have an ongoing relationship, such as serving on an advisory board or as a mentor to high school faculty. Students in both programs may benefit from lower tuition costs, an opportunity to complete higher education requirements in less time and a smoother transition from high school to college.
During the two-year pilot, UNH Manchester and the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (CEPS) in Durham will work with several high schools in their respective locales. UNH Manchester communication arts and computer science faculty have partnered with Pinkerton Academy for the initial launch and are working closely with two other high schools on similar curricula. Computer science faculty from CEPS are also in the process of identifying three seacoast-area high schools to participate. Once the two-year pilot is successfully completed, the goal is to continue to expand to high schools throughout the state.
Once the two-year pilot is complete, other UNH programs that can identify and build curricular alignment with high school departments will be able to participate with the approval of the Provost’s Office.
UNH First Step participants will pay $150 per 4-credit course. The program is the same cost to students as Running Start.
The success of the pilot will be determined by the number of students who choose to enroll in UNH courses and by the academic success of those students to complete the courses. Once the pilot is extended and expanded, as intended, the most important metric will be the percentage of New Hampshire high school graduates who choose to pursue higher education and careers in the state