NIC enrollment up 5.4 percent for fall 2006
North Idaho College posted a 5.4 percent increase in enrollment for fall 2006 with an increase of 239 students from last year’s enrollment of 4,392, bringing the total enrollment this year to a record 4,631.
NIC’s accounting method for 10th day enrollment figures was standardized this year to be more consistent with other institutional reporting methods, so NIC officials noted that the numbers are not an accurate comparison to Fall 2005 figures.
One change involved accounting for professional-technical enrollments. Most professional-technical students are required to take some academic transfer coursework, such as English and math; previously, NIC counted those credits to professional-technical. To be in line with how other institutions report those numbers, NIC now counts those credits as academic transfer. The result is a decline in professional-technical credit hour production. It does not affect headcount enrollment in either professional-technical or academic transfer programs, but does show up on the credit hour report.
“The fact that we continue to refine the way we count enrollment to be consistent with others tempers my enthusiasm for this report,” said NIC President Michael Burke. “Yet some trends are clear: the continuing shift from full-time to part-time students, growth in our dual enrollment program for high school students, increases in distance education and success in our offerings to senior citizens. Higher education is changing and NIC is responding to those changes.”
Another change in this year’s accounting method is the grace period offered for nonpayment ofcourse tuition and fees at NIC. Last year at this time, some students were dropped for nonpayment prior to the accounting of 10th day numbers. No drops have been made at this point, to be consistent among Idaho community colleges.
“The most important thing is that we’re comparing apples to apples,” said NIC Vice Presidentof Student Services Eric Murray. “The numbers can seem inconsistent this year, but will be more informative in the long run because we will be able to better compare them with both our own numbers and our counterparts in the future.”
Part-time enrollment accounted for 42 percent of last year’s total count. This year, part-time enrollment is 46 percent of the total enrollment, increasing 15.8 percent from 1,850 to 2,546. This has been the trend at NIC the past few years, resulting at least in part from the upswing in the local economy, Murray said.
According to a report produced by Regional Economist for the Idaho Department of Commerce and Labor Kathryn Tacke, a total of 9,000 non-farming payroll jobs were added in northern Idaho between 2003 and 2005, including 2,600 construction jobs and 670 manufacturing jobs.
“When jobs are readily available, there is less motivation for people to go to school full time,” Murray said. “Our total headcount is up, but full-time enrollment is down. What we’re seeing is since more people are working full time, they are taking more part-time classes.”
These factors contributed to another significant increase in the NIC Workforce Training Center’s noncredit duplicated enrollment, which posted a 5.9 percent increase in enrollments for fiscal year 2006, up from 12,795 in 2005 to a record 13,550 in 2006.
A new emphasis on providing offerings to senior citizens 60 and older helped bolster enrollment as well, from just 23 students in 2005 to 158 this fall. NIC has also increased its marketing focus as well as its recruiting efforts, which also helped contribute to this year’s increase, Burke said.
Dual credit, which allows eligible high school juniors and seniors to enroll in NIC courses for both high school and college credit, continues to grow up 25.2 percent from 270 students in 2005 to 338 this year.
The top majors remained the same this year, with general, nursing, business administration/management and education topping the list. The average age of the NIC student increased from 25 to 26 this year, most likely due to the increased number of senior citizens taking courses at NIC.
Idaho’s colleges and universities traditionally announce their enrollment on the 10th instructional day of each semester.
Murray will give a more detailed enrollment report to the NIC Board of Trustees at its next meeting, scheduled for Sept. 27.For More Information
Assistant to the President for Community Relations Kent Propst, (208) 769-3316Posted: Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2006