ISU downplays competition from new community college

While Idaho State University is facing declining enrollment, ISU President Arthur Vailas doesn’t expect a new community college to worsen the situation.

And while minimizing the threat from the fledgling College of Eastern Idaho, Vailas also sees opportunities.

“We like the idea of community colleges because we can partner with them and work out a pathway for students to continue going forward with a four-year program and beyond,” Vailas told the Idaho State Journal.

CEI’s new president also downplayed the idea of competition.

Rick Aman

“We would tend to target students who wouldn’t normally attend a four-year university,” Rick Aman told the Journal. “The four-year university would then receive more incoming students at the junior level.”

CEI opened in August, just three months after Bonneville County voters approved the state’s fourth community college. According to State Board of Education headcounts, the converted technical college has attracted more than 800 students for fall semester.

ISU’s headcount was down more than 400 students last fall. That decrease stems from a decreasing population of students from the Middle East, in the wake of discrimination complaints. As a result, ISU tuition and fee collections are expected to fall $6.1 million short of projections, forcing the university to dip into reserves.


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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