DURHAM, N.H. — Moving to a self-insured health care plan for its employees, along with administrative efficiencies, saved University System of New Hampshire (USNH) institutions $10 million in the last fiscal year. These savings will be re-invested primarily in system wide efforts in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education to help New Hampshire meet growing demands for skilled workers in STEM related fields.
“This is a great example of how we continue to innovate to find savings and efficiencies,” said USNH Chancellor Todd Leach. “And by investing these savings in this way, our four institutions will be able to do more to build much-needed STEM capacity across the entire state.”
USNH moved to a self-insured health care plan in January 2012. The plan allowed the system to reduce administrative costs and negotiate discounts with insurance and prescription providers. USNH also introduced new incentives to lower employees’ health care costs and promote wellness.
Examples of how the new health care savings will support STEM education include:
- The University of New Hampshire is building STEM capacity at both its Durham and Manchester campuses. In Durham, biostatistics, neuroscience and nutrition programs will be expanded, and a new master’s degree program is being offered in business analytics. In Manchester, UNH is expanding and improving facilities for computer science and engineering. This will include a computer science and entrepreneurship program beginning in 2014. Both campuses are also increasing pre-college STEM education.
- Plymouth State University is investing in facilities and faculty to support STEM-related programming in health care.
- Keene State College is working with the region’s middle and high schools to encourage students to pursue STEM-related studies as they prepare for college. Keene State is also developing programs that encourage more first- and second-year college students to major in STEM disciplines and complete their degrees.
- Granite State College is building capacity for two of its top 10 bachelor’s degree programs: information technology and nursing. The college is also introducing a new bachelor’s program in health and wellness, offering a math teacher preparation program, and developing a middle school science teacher certification program.
In May 2012, USNH and the Community College System of New Hampshire announced a commitment to double the number of STEM graduates in the state by 2025. While New Hampshire consistently ranks among the top 10 states in the percentages of adults with associates’, bachelors’, and graduate degrees, the state is not as well positioned in the percentages of post-secondary degree holders in science and engineering.