NEBHE Regional Student Program Enrollment Grew by 14% in 2019-20, Saved Families $64 Million on Tuition

By Wendy A Lindsay

The New England Board of Higher Education’s Tuition Break, the Regional Student Program (RSP), saw significant growth in enrollment—and in the number of program offerings—during the 2019-20 academic year.

Total enrollment in the RSP in 2019-20 was 9,257, up 14% over 2018-19. Of the 81 participating public colleges and universities, 46% reported enrollment increases. About 64% of students were enrolled in four-year undergraduate programs, 28% in community college programs and 7% in graduate programs.

Undergraduate RSP enrollment at the participating four-year public higher education institutions reached a record high and increased by 22% over the previous year.

Increases were largely attributed to enrollment under the new Flexible Programs policy, which took effect in fall 2019 for the four-year institutions, whereby they could offer additional programs to residents of any other New England state.

The 2019-20 Annual Report of the Regional Student Program Tuition Break published online provides detailed enrollment breakdowns by program of study, institution and state.

Participating students and families saved an estimated $63.5 million on their annual 2019-20 tuition bills. A full-time student saved an average of $8,100.

The RSP has provided New England students and families with significant savings on more than 324,000 annual tuition bills since 1957, with estimated total tuition savings in the billions of dollars.

Record number of programs

A record number of programs—more than 2,000—are now offered through the RSP. A significant number of programs are in specialized or high-demand career areas, such as biomedical engineering, environmental engineering, allied health, pharmacy, energy technology, advanced manufacturing technology and sustainability studies.

This year marks the 62nd year of enrollment in RSP. NEBHE established the RSP in 1957-58 to fulfill the purposes of the congressionally authorized New England Higher Education Compact—expanding educational opportunities for New England residents and sharing higher education resources.

NEBHE’s Tuition Break program not only provides much-needed tuition relief to New England students and families but also fosters cost-efficient resource sharing among the six New England states. The RSP helps eliminate the need for states to duplicate academic programs offered by public higher education institutions in other New England states and thereby avoid billions of dollars in capital and operating expenditures.

The RSP helps participating campuses in a competitive admissions environment to attract and retain out-of-state New England students, who would have likely attended college elsewhere if the RSP tuition discount were not available.

The region’s public colleges and universities received an estimated $121 million in tuition revenue–and approximately $25 million in fee revenue—from the RSP students enrolled at their campuses in 2019-20.

This year’s Annual Report is based on data gathered through NEBHE’s fall 2019 survey of New England public higher education institutions that participate in the RSP.



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