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Adult Education for College and Work

Five years after Ellery Harvey dropped out of high school he enrolled in one of New Hampshire’s adult education programs to obtain his GED Certificate. He went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude from New England College and now he is the Art Director for Raintown Press in Portland, Oregon.

David Lemere 46 and his daughter Megan 22 graduated together from the Kearsarge Adult High School program. Both of them worked full time during the day, went to school at night and enjoyed their love of music by playing in bands on the weekend.

Ellery Harvey, David and Megan Lemere are only a few of the 8,034 New Hampshire adults that enrolled in adult education programs across the state during the last school year. All of them returned to school to earn a high school diploma, learn English as another language or to increase their basic English and math skills.

All of the students in these adult education programs, except for those learning English as another language, were former school dropouts. They returned to school to finish their high school education in order to go on to college, find a good employment situation or to fully participate in family and community life.

Funding for these programs came from the federal Adult Education and Family Literacy Act and state adult education funds. Adult High School, Adult Basic Education/ESOL, and Adult Learner Service Programs are located in over 40 communities across the state.

One of the many reasons that adults return to school is for economic security: the US Department of Labor reports that high school graduates earn on average 38% more per week than high school dropouts, those with associate degrees earn 68% more than high school dropouts and those with a Bachelor’s degree earn 128% more than high school dropouts.

Adult education programs in New Hampshire are provided primarily through school districts and private not for profit organizations throughout the state. The communities with the largest enrollments during the past school year were: Nashua 1,759, Dover 1,175, Manchester 796, Laconia 587, Concord 462, Derry 316, Exeter 314, Claremont 242, Salem 219, Keene 147 and Portsmouth 129. Services were also provided in smaller communities such as Plymouth, Lisbon, Goffstown, Jaffrey, and Sutton.

While students in these programs ranged in age from 16-82 over 42% were between the ages of 16-24. There were 1,288 students who graduated during the year with an Adult High School Diploma issued by the local school district or a GED Certificate awarded by the State of New Hampshire. Graduates from adult education programs go on to postsecondary education and accredited occupational training programs, join the military services or develop work skills that allow them to increase their earning potential for themselves and their families.

For further information contact Art Ellison, NH Department of Education, (603) 271-6698,, or any of the local contacts.

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New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH | 03301-3494
Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711