NIC enrollment numbers continue to level off

North Idaho College’s total headcount for this fall semester is down 4.03 percent, which signals a leveling off in enrollment numbers for the last five years.

The total headcount for Fall 2015 is 5,546, down from Fall 2014’s enrollment of 5,779. The 4 percent drop in enrollment is the smallest decline the college has experienced in the last five years since the U.S. economy began its rebound from the recession in 2007-2008. Enrollment declines are common for higher education institutions during an economic recovery, as unemployment rates decrease there is less demand for employment training for the workforce.

 “The NIC Board of Trustees planned for a decrease in enrollment and made adjustments with that in mind. Of course, there’s always room for improvement, but this slight decline is good news,” said NIC President Joe Dunlap. “The trustees managed to balance the budget with no increase to taxes and with only a $2 per credit tuition increase for local students. We’ve been holding the line.”

While only a slight increase, the number of students enrolled in professional-technical programs increased from 810 to 831, a 2.59 percent increase. One of the largest increases came from dual credit students, increasing 15.32 percent from 744 to 858. The dual credit program allows high school juniors and seniors to enroll for both high school and college credit.

“The success we’ve had with dual credit students is a reflection of a concentrated effort to raise awareness of dual credit opportunities for high school students,” said NIC Vice President for Student Services Graydon Stanley. “In prior years, the average dual credit student would typically only take one class at their high school. Now, the majority of Kootenai County students in dual credit register for two or more classes per semester.”

Total Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) numbers declined by 7.1 percent, from 3,779 in fall 2014 to 3,510 this fall. FTE is a unit that indicates how many students taking a full course load would equal a full-time student. FTE enrollment numbers are used for budget planning and forecasting.

“As students find jobs, they take less of a course load, so FTE numbers are reduced. It’s a side-effect of an improving economy,” Stanley said.

Interestingly, the youngest and the oldest of the age groups attending NIC saw an increase from 2014 to 2015, while all the age groups between them declined in numbers. Students age 19 and younger increased from 2,090 to 2,171; students age 60 and older increased from 136 to 139.

Information: NIC Vice President for Student Services Graydon Stanley, (208) 769-7863 or


Posted: Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015

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