A recent New York Times article that detailed a report releasing frightening information for public higher education made news across the country last week.
The news was troubling for higher education.
Media outlets across the nation reported on the scary stats that were a part of Complete College America's report.
At public colleges in Texas, for example, just 5 percent of students leave directly from high school to attend a four-year university and then graduate after those four years. Even after eight years, just over 50 percent had graduated.
Despite funding numbers that are significantly lower, New Hampshire public institutions have experienced much better numbers.
As reported in today's front-page article, "While state school grad rates struggle nationally, N.H.'s remain stable." All three public state schools have seen their graduation rate either remain stagnant or increase.
UNH's rate has fluctuated between 71 percent and 75 percent. It's a number the school should be proud of, but also one to watch carefully in the years following the largest cut to higher education funding in the history of the United States.
That's an impressive number, especially when considering elite colleges, like New York University (a 78 percent graduation rate) have similar numbers.
In today's article, Mark Rubinstein, vice president of Student and Academic Services, brings up the "array of well-connected student service offices to mitigate the effects of personal problems on student success" as a reason why UNH's number is what it is.
He's probably right. And that may be a scary thing.
If funding cuts scale back or even eliminate some of the student services, UNH's 75 percent graduation rate could be in serious jeopardy. But that's because of more than just cuts to student services.
As tuition increases, more and more students are faced with the burden of tacking on more loans. At some point, it becomes unrealistic for some students to take on any more loans. Then, they're forced to drop out or transfer.
This puts an even bigger emphasis on President Mark Huddleston's recently announced fundraising effort, which will kick off in a couple of years.
As we've written before, much of Huddleston's run as president will be defined by this fundraising effort.
The impressive graduation rate is just one of many aspects that could hinge on fundraising. But it's also one of the most important.
A successful campaign would likely mean UNH's graduation rate remains similar to some of the best university's in the nation. An unsuccessful one, though, could mean UNH's efforts the last few years would go to waste – and the school's statistics would look more like schools in Texas than NYU.