NIC tuition reduced in 2007 for Washington, Montana residents

In an environment where enrollment numbers are directly tied to state funding, North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene has gotten serious about its recruiting efforts and recruitment’s effect on bolstering enrollment.
Like many community colleges nationwide, North Idaho College saw the largest enrollment increase in the history of the college following Sept. 11 in 2001. However, the strengthening economy and booming job market in years that have followed have caused the college’s enrollment to decline, prompting NIC officials to seek new markets to boost enrollment.
NIC is located in the 70-mile wide Idaho panhandle, making it closer to large portions of Montana and Washington than to much of the state of Idaho. That’s why NIC is looking across Idaho’s borders into Washington and Montana to try to reach a market of students that has yet to be fully tapped. As part of this measure, North Idaho College recently announced its plan to lower tuition to out-of-state students from those states.
Washington students attending NIC currently pay $4,040 per year and Montana students pay $4,488 per year. But beginning in the fall of 2007, Washington and Montana students alike will pay $3,165 per year.
The new tuition amount is still greater than the rate Idaho students pay, currently $1,496. The total is the average out-of-state tuition cost between four regional community colleges.
“Reducing tuition for Montana and Washington students is a necessary step because it allows us to compete with lower-priced institutions in those states, and it affirms NIC’s commitment to providing an affordable education to the entire Northwest,” said NIC Vice President for Student Services Eric Murray.
The new initiative is also a response to other states’ efforts to increase enrollment by looking at Idaho. For example, Community Colleges of Spokane, which sits just across the Washington-Idaho border from Coeur d’Alene, recently lowered its out-of-state tuition as well in an effort to attract students from Idaho.
“We’re all looking at the same market of students now and thinking about how we can best serve them,” Murray said. “Offering tuition in a range that’s viable for them is the first step.”
North Idaho College’s board of trustees approved the measure unanimously even in a time of budget shortfalls. That’s because the tuition cuts will not cost NIC a cent if at least 53 new Washington or Montana students enroll under the new initiative.
NIC has also placed a greater emphasis on recruiting, with the creation of an additional recruiting position this summer. Those recruiters can now market to Washington and Montana students, telling them that attending NIC would only cost them $300-$600 more per year than the in-district rate at their local community college.
“Since Washington and Montana are so close we find a lot of interest in NIC, but the out-of-state tuition rate has made it difficult for those students to attend NIC,” said NIC Admissions Director Maxine Gish. “We would like to be more competitive in getting them to consider NIC as an affordable option.”
Recruiters will spend time this spring and summer visiting high school students and other prospective NIC students in Washington and Montana, informing them of the new out-of-state tuition rates for the fall of 2007.

For More Information
NIC Vice President for Student Services Eric Murray, (208) 769-3370, NIC Admissions Director Maxine Gish, (208) 769-3313

Posted: Friday, Oct. 27, 2006

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