North Idaho College posted a 6.4 percent increase in enrollment for fall 2011, despite several changes to registration and enrollment processes that affected comparisons to soaring enrollment increases the past few years. Headcount is up from 6,347 in the fall of 2010 to a record breaking 6,751 this fall.
“While this fall’s headcount is a drop from several years of double-digit enrollment growth, 6.4 percent is a very robust increase and more than two percentage points higher than we projected in our fiscal year 2012 budget,” said NIC President Priscilla Bell.
The enrollment figures for this fall are not exact comparisons to figures from past years due to two new changes in admissions and enrollment procedures.
Students were dropped for not attending their classes at the start of fall semester. NIC followed other higher education institutions in establishing this guideline, primarily as a means of reducing the amount of federal financial aid funds that needed to be returned to the U.S. Department of Education for students who received financial aid but did not attend classes.
In addition, a course waitlist was instituted for the first time to track student demand while NIC’s payment deadline (and the ensuing deregistration of students who had not paid) was moved up closer to the start of the semester.
“We anticipated that these changes would have a moderating influence on enrollment growth,” Bell said. “This is particularly true for the drop for non-attendance change. In previous years, our 10-day count included many students who had neither attended, nor would attend, any classes despite being registered. Couple this with a slowly recovering economy and it explains the drop from previous high increases.”
The largest segment of program growth was in professional-technical enrollment, up 21.2 percent from 780 to 945 this fall, primarily due to several new certificate options in the Electronic Medical Records Adoption for Healthcare Practices programs. Headcount in NIC’s transfer programs was up 4.4 percent to 5,160.
Participation by high school juniors and seniors in NIC’s dual credit program continues to be one of the largest segments of growth. While total headcount rose 3.5 percent to 646, the full-time equivalency figure rose even sharper, up 13.4 percent, demonstrating that dual credit students are taking heavier class loads. A total of 17.2 percent of NIC’s dual credit students are attending NIC full time (12 or more college credits) compared to 12.8 percent last year.
On the other end of the spectrum, the senior population represented the largest segment of growth in total headcount, up 29.7 percent to 188 students from the fall of 2010.
Nearly 49 percent of NIC’s students are part time and 89.6 percent are from Idaho, including 66.3 percent from Kootenai County.
NIC’s enrollment has increased more than 45 percent over the past five years, from a headcount of 4,650 in 2007. NIC Vice President for Student Services Sheldon Nord will give a more detailed enrollment report to the NIC Board of Trustees at its next meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21 in the Driftwood Bay Room of NIC’s Edminster Student Union Building.