NH Fire & EMS Eligible For New College Degree Program Through NH Fire Academy & EMS and College for America at SNHU

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Partnership brings $10k BA and $5k AA to thousands in NH

“The program makes it possible for someone with a full-time job, a family, and a limited income to go back to school." Richard Walker, Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director in the town of Barrington

Fire and emergency services personnel across New Hampshire are now eligible to earn an extraordinarily affordable college degree through a new partnership between the NH Fire Academy and EMS and College for America at Southern New Hampshire University. College for America, a nonprofit and fully accredited school built specifically for working adults, announced earlier this year the launch of the first nationally available, accreditor-approved $10,000 bachelor’s degree.

“Our first responders have seen their role expand significantly in recent years, and it benefits all of us to give them access to affordable higher education in fields like communications and healthcare management,” said Deborah Pendergast, Director of the NH Division of Fire Standards & Training and Emergency Services. “We are delighted to be able to offer College for America to our fire and emergency medical workers, volunteers, and their families.”

Richard Walker, Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director in the town of Barrington, said, "Before I learned about College for America, I thought the dream of achieving my college degree was out of reach.” Chief Walker enrolled at College for America through a pilot program earlier this year. “The program makes it possible for someone with a full-time job, a family, and a limited income to go back to school. With the support of my town administration and my fellow workers, I know I will achieve this lifelong dream.”

College for America partners with employers nationwide to offer their employees access to low-cost, competency-based college degrees designed to be more applicable in the workforce. Partnerships include national employers, like Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Goodwill, some of the nation’s largest hospital and health systems, as well as local employers like the City of Manchester and the NH Center for Nonprofits.

Traditional colleges and even most online universities award degrees based on how many classes a student has taken. In a breakthrough new approach, College for America is centered not on classes, but instead on helping students master key competencies through real-world online projects that reflect critical workplace skills. This competency-based approach means that students can set their own pace—advancing very quickly through areas they know and spending more time on areas they need help.

Tuition is $2,500 a year with no additional fees. Typically, an associate’s degree from College for America takes roughly two years to complete and a bachelor’s degree is projected to take a total of four years to complete, though some students complete the flexibly paced degrees in less time. Students in the associate’s degree program are also eligible for federal financial aid.

Fields of study include communications, nonclinical healthcare, and degrees in general studies with a concentration in business.

New Hampshire fire and emergency services personnel or family members interested in learning more about the program or interested in applying should visit collegeforamerica.org/nhfire for details.

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Linnae Selinga
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