New Hampshire Online Colleges & Universities – Top Schools for 2015

search New Hampshire COLLEGES

search New Hampshire COLLEGES

Though it's one of the smallest states in the country, New Hampshire boasts a wide variety of post-secondary institutions, including one Ivy League school, several religious colleges, and an array of public and private schools. More than 101,500 individuals studied at New Hampshire's 45 colleges and universities in 2013, placing the state 39th in the nation for total colleges and 42nd for number of students. In New Hampshire, higher education options range from small liberal arts colleges to major public universities to online schools:

College Type Number in New Hampshire
Public 13
Private not-for-profit (no religious affiliation) 10
Private not-for-profit (religious affiliation) 5
Private for-profit 2

Top Cities in New Hampshire for Higher Education

Colleges and universities are spread across New Hampshire, though most schools are located in the southern part of the state, which borders Massachusetts. Here's where you can find the majority of colleges and students in New Hampshire:

Most Popular Cities for College Students (Total)

  • Manchester (26,000)
  • Durham (13,300)
  • Concord (8,500)
  • Nashua (6,000)
  • Keene (5,600)

Cities with the Most Colleges (Total)

  • Manchester (10)
  • Nashua (4)
  • Concord (3)
  • Keene (3)
  • Portsmouth (3)

College Outlook for Manchester

In New Hampshire's largest city, a variety of colleges make it easy for students to pursue higher education. The University of New Hampshire at Manchester provides many undergraduate and graduate programs, including accelerated five-year tracks leading to master's degrees. Manchester Community College serves students who plan to transfer as well as those seeking professional training. Beyond the numerous degree and certificate programs, the college has opportunities for local service learning, internships, practical experience and clinical placements. State residents can take a few MCC courses without applying for admission, and students in other New England states pay lower tuition than other out-of-state residents.

On a hilltop above Manchester is historic Saint Anselm College, a Catholic Benedictine liberal arts school designated by The Princeton Review among the nation's "Colleges with a Conscience." Saint Anselm offers varied undergraduate majors and minors along with pre-professional programs for medicine and theology. Southern New Hampshire University, a private nonprofit institution, has its 300-acre main campus in Manchester. Massachusetts-based Springfield College opened its School of Human Services in Manchester, which offers weekend schedules for working students.

Learning Online in Manchester

UNH-Manchester serves busy non-traditional students through evening and Saturday class schedules as well as blended or online courses. Courses delivered electronically tackle topics such as how to integrate technology in the classroom. Hybrid courses delve into business, economics and technology, including in-demand areas such as mobile computing, web authoring and data structures. At Manchester Community College, students can sign up for fully online associate degree programs in accounting, liberal arts or management, as well as two online business certificates. The 2014-2015 class schedule boasts approximately 250 individual online courses.

Southern New Hampshire University emphasizes accessibility, allowing students to work on-site or remotely, with the use of services such as online library access and 24/7 technical support. SNHU students can select from a vast range of web-based degree and certificate programs, including undergraduate majors in business and liberal arts and graduate studies in more than 40 specialized MBA concentrations. Applicants for some graduate programs may not need a GMAT or GRE score.

Online Education in New Hampshire

Now that online learning has become a fixture of higher education, college students have so many programs from which to choose. Not only do private for-profit institutions award online degrees, but traditional public and private colleges have expanded their reach to include online offerings, too. So no matter which part of New Hampshire you call your college home, you can access online courses and programs from a variety of accredited institutions. In 2013, six four-year colleges in New Hampshire offered online courses, certificate programs or degrees. All seven campuses within the community college system of New Hampshire offer fully online courses in a number of subject areas. The University of New Hampshire also offers online--and hybrid--courses, as well as an online MBA program and an online MSW program. Here's a look at the number of online programs at individual New Hampshire colleges and universities:

Paying for College

When choosing a school, it's important to consider the complete cost of a college education. Tuition is most likely the principal expense, though the amount varies according to the college selected. In 2012, students at New Hampshire colleges paid an in-state tuition rate of about $15,500 per year, making education in the state among the 5th most expensive in the country. In addition, students need to factor in the fees associated with college attendance, including activities, health and parking fees. These add-ons do add up, so don't make the mistake of looking at a school's tuition without also considering its fees.

Students must also plan for living costs, which include housing, food and other miscellaneous expenses. The cost of living in New Hampshire is about 17 percent higher than the national average, though certain areas are less expensive than others. Here's an in-depth look at the cost of living (COL) for New Hampshire's primary urban area, compared to the national average (100%):

Urban Area Composite Index Housing Groceries Utilities Transportation Health Care Misc.
Manchester 16.8% 17.0% 2.3% 24.5% 0.1% 16.1% 25.0%

New Hampshire students seeking college opportunities need to consider numerous factors, including tuition, fees, faculty, academics and more. However, it’s important to also factor in potential return on investment, i.e. the value of the degree. As with tuition, degree value varies from school to school. The following colleges in New Hampshire stand out when it comes to return on investment (ROI):

  • Dartmouth College
  • Saint Anselm College
  • University of New Hampshire
  • Rivier University
  • Southern New Hampshire University

FAFSA, Scholarships, and Other Financial Aid

New Hampshire may seem expensive, but savvy students can take advantage of significant financial assistance to offset the costs of their college education. Financial aid is available at the college, state and federal levels, but students must meet financial aid deadlines – particularly for the FAFSA form – to apply. In 2012, 59 percent of undergraduate students in New Hampshire received federal financial aid, placing the state 45th in the nation.

While loans must be repaid, scholarships provide students with free money for college, which is intended to help them graduate with less debt and improved financial stability. In New Hampshire, students can apply for scholarships from their school or from a variety of public and private organizations. Some of the major entities offering scholarships to New Hampshire college students include:

  • American Cancer Society
  • Boston Flower Exchange
  • Horticultural Research Institute
  • The Humane Society
  • Lighthouse International
  • New England Board of Higher Education
  • New England Direct Marketing Association
  • New England Employee Benefits Council
  • New Hampshire Grocers Association
  • Norcross Wildlife Foundation
  • Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics

Understanding Accreditation at New Hampshire Colleges

Whichever New Hampshire college comes under consideration, it's important that the school be accredited by an agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Accreditation is mandatory for colleges that wish to receive state and federal funding and provide student financial assistance. New Hampshire colleges and universities may pursue regional accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges ( Specific colleges, departments, or programs within an institution may also be accredited by specialized accrediting agencies or professional organizations. Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire, for example, maintains programmatic accreditation from The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The university's hospitality management programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration.


There's no shortage of decisions for students who plan to pursue higher education in New Hampshire: Which school will you choose? Will you study on campus or online? How will you pay for your education? Fortunately, plenty of resources are available to guide you. For a closer look at New Hampshire colleges and universities, including their online education offerings, review the profiles below.

New Hampshire is a treasure-trove of online distance learning for those students seeking a degree via a completely online program. Fully accredited, these four-year colleges in New Hampshire boast the same degrees and certifications as the equivalent diplomas granted on campus. Not only are the degrees identical, but so are many of the admissions requirements, curriculum expectations, and even tuition assistance. The biggest difference between an online and on-campus degree is the convenience offered through distance learning. To further compare these options, we’ve compiled a list of the very best online schools in New Hampshire. These schools are listed from lowest tuition to highest, and all are fully online degree programs.

Click here to see our methodology.
Granite State College
Tuition and fees: $7,065 Enrollment: 2,540 Accredited: YES Website: Granite State College

Granite State College provides flexibility, value and a liberal transfer policy to students pursuing online education through its certificates and degree programs. This online college in New Hampshire offers minors, associate, bachelor's and master's degrees as well as post-baccalaureate programs via e-learning. All of the college's online degrees are accredited through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Plymouth State University
Tuition and fees: $12,560 Enrollment: 4,829 Accredited: YES Website: Plymouth State University

Plymouth State University offers online bachelor's and master's degrees to students who seek distance learning. Among the offerings are a Bachelor's of Arts in Communication and Media Studies, an RN-to-BSN, and a Master's of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. As an online college in New Hampshire, the university provides online programs that feature time management, cooperative learning, and peer communication.

University of New Hampshire-Main Campus
Tuition and fees: $16,422 Enrollment: 13,280 Accredited: YES Website: University of New Hampshire-Main Campus

The University of New Hampshire main campus provides learning opportunities to students interested in online or blended learning. Single e-courses are available from the bachelor's to master's level at this online college in New Hampshire, and students can also pursue a flexible and online MBA. Online courses are offered during the fall and spring semesters, but also during the summer session and January term.

Rivier College
Tuition and fees: $26,905 Enrollment: 1,753 Accredited: YES Website: Rivier College

Rivier College offers several fully online degrees to students who prefer distance education. Options available at this online college in New Hampshire include a Bachelor's of Arts in Nursing, an MBA in Healthcare Administration, and others. Online courses are administered through the Canvas learning manage systems, and available in eight-week sessions.

Southern New Hampshire University
Tuition and fees: $28,050 Enrollment: 11,913 Accredited: YES Website: Southern New Hampshire University

Students looking for an online college in New Hampshire can look to Southern New Hampshire University for certificates and undergraduate and graduate-level degrees available through distance learning. The university, accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, provides online degrees in areas such as accounting, business, creative writing, healthcare management, nursing and many others.

Franklin Pierce University
Tuition and fees: $29,950 Enrollment: 1,977 Accredited: YES Website: Franklin Pierce University

Adult learners seeking an online college in New Hampshire can find a variety of degrees and certificates available at the undergraduate and graduate levels through Franklin Pierce University. From business to education and marketing to information technology, full degrees are offered to students through e-learning. An MBA with several concentrations is also available through online format to students.