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A merger between two institutions in New Hampshire will follow a two-step process that will begin with New England College operating the smaller New Hampshire Institute of Art as a subsidiary, they said Wednesday.

The two institutions announced merger plans in May, casting the move as a way to improve academic programs and administrative services. At the time, they offered relatively few details on the deal's structure.

Now, they expect a two-step process starting with the subsidiary arrangement, which will allow for planning and program integration. They will then move into a second phase in which art institute students will be enrolled as students at New England College.

The fully merged institution will keep the New England College name and operate the art institute as the Institute of Art and Design at New England College. The New Hampshire Institute of Art campus in Manchester is expected to remain open, with students from both campuses able to study there or at New England College's campus in Henniker, a small town about 30 miles away by car.

New Hampshire Institute of Art discussed merging into Southern New Hampshire University in 2014, but that deal ultimately died. At 350 students, mostly in undergraduate art and design programs, the art institute is much smaller than New England College, which totals almost 2,800 students in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs.