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City living
UNH Manchester expands student housing options

07/12/18



 By Scott Murphy

smurphy@hippopress.com 
 
The latest tenant on Elm Street in Manchester is a familiar face around town. Beginning this fall, the University of New Hampshire at Manchester will open the UNH Downtown Commons to provide students with a housing option in the heart of the city.
UNH had previously partnered with the New Hampshire Institute of Art on Concord Street to house about eight to 12 students each year. Increased demand prompted the university to purchase space for the commons at 1000 Elm St. next to Brady Sullivan Plaza, about a half-mile walk from campus at 88 Commercial St.
“Traditionally, we’ve been considered a commuter campus, but some of our programs have become known outside of a driving radius,” said Mike Decelle, dean of UNH Manchester. “We’ve had an increased need to provide more housing options for our students, which led us to secure our own space.”
 
Inside the dorms
The commons will offer 38 rooms with configurations for two or three roommates. Both options include access to laundry facilities, cable TV and internet access, a shared kitchen space and more. Students can choose either a 32-week or 40-week plan depending on whether they want access to their rooms during school breaks. Prices range from $3,131 to $4,400 a semester depending on which room and week plan students choose. 
UNH is continuing its partnership with the New Hampshire Institute of Art to offer meal plans at the Institute’s dining hall, also located at 1000 Elm St. Students can purchase 10 or 19 meals per week based on their housing plan, with the cost ranging from $1,740 to $2,650 a semester. 
Kim DeRego, associate dean of enrollment management, said UNH won’t have a final headcount of residential students until closer to the fall semester. She said the rooms are available on a “first come first served” basis, and the university has seen interest from both undergrad and grad students.
 
Grad program growth
According to Decelle, undergrad enrollment is up about 10 percent over the last couple of years, and UNH’s graduate program enrollment has about doubled in that time frame. 
DeRego said STEM and pre-professional programs are driving growth in the university’s undergrad enrollment, and the school’s master’s degrees in business, engineering and IT have been particularly popular, especially among international students. 
“We’ve really started to recruit residential graduate students who would otherwise struggle to quickly and easily secure market housing in the city,” said Decelle. “Manchester has a welcoming reputation for folks from different cultures.”
 
Opportunities around the corner
Access to the bounty of internships in downtown Manchester is also a benefit for students living at the commons. UNH Manchester surveyed the Class of 2017 and found that 75 percent of students completed at least one internship at the university. 
“This housing option will give students improved access to the companies and organizations that offer experiential opportunities in downtown Manchester,” said DeRego. 
As an example, Decelle pointed to the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute at 400 Commercial St. in Manchester, just down the road from UNH Manchester’s campus. Decelle, chief workforce officer for ARMI, said the institute is part of a growing number of biology and biotechnology opportunities for students to find internships and employment. 





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