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NECC Signs Transfer Agreement with UNH Manchester, Creating Pathway for Future Sign Language Interpreters

Submitted by on September 26, 2018 – 2:42 pm

Nikita Espinal-Bodden, a recent graduate of NECC’s Deaf Studies Program.

Northern Essex Community College is partnering with University of New Hampshire at Manchester to offer NECC students a pathway to a Bachelor of Science in American Sign Language/English Interpreting at UNH Manchester.

With campuses in Haverhill and Lawrence, Massachusetts, NECC is the first out-of-state institution to offer an academic pathway to UNH Manchester, which has built more than 30 pathways to UNH bachelor’s degrees from New Hampshire community colleges.

“We are excited to partner with an institution that shares our commitment to making higher education more affordable and accessible,” said Mike Decelle, dean of UNH Manchester. “The ASL/English Interpreting pathway is the beginning of a broader relationship with NECC.”

After completing a two-year associate degree in Deaf Studies or Deaf Studies – Interpreting at NECC, students will be able to smoothly transfer into UNH Manchester’s B.S. in ASL/English Interpreting, the nation’s first accredited interpreting program and one of only 14 in the country.  Students who complete their NECC associate degree with an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher will be guaranteed acceptance into UNH Manchester’s bachelor’s degree program.

Students from New Hampshire, which make up around 12 percent of NECC’s population, will pay in-state New Hampshire tuition for their two years at UNH. UNH Manchester offers the only bachelor’s-level ASL/English Interpreting degree in the region, so NECC students from any other New England state, including Massachusetts, will pay a reduced tuition rate under the New England Regional Student Program.

The demand for skilled interpreters is on the rise, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting 18 percent growth in the interpreting field between 2016 and 2026, according to NECC President Lane Glenn.

“NECC is the only community college in the region to offer ASL/English interpreting, and the curriculum and reputation of UNH Manchester’s bachelor’s program is a natural fit for our students,” Glenn said. “Our duty as public institutions is to prepare students with the skills and education for careers, and this partnership does just that.”

The two institutions hope to expand their academic partnerships to more programs in the future.

Northern Essex offers an associate degree in American Sign Language Studies with a choice of three concentrations; American Sign Language, Human Services, or Interpreting Transfer, and also a Sign Language Interpreter certificate.

Here’s a link to a video featuring the Deaf Studies Program and its students.

For more information, contact Kevin Fleese, program coordinator, 978 241 7049, or Kim Sampson, deaf studies program assistant, 978 556-3667 or VP 978 377-8033 or

You may also be interested in: ASL Interpreter Program Fulfills Need

With campuses in Haverhill and Lawrence, Northern Essex Community College offers over 60 associate degree and certificate programs as well as hundreds of noncredit courses designed for personal enrichment and career growth.  Each year, close to 8,000 students are enrolled in credit associate degree and certificate programs on the Haverhill and Lawrence campuses; and another 2,600 take noncredit workforce development and community education classes on campus, and at businesses and community sites across the Merrimack Valley.  For more information, visit the website at