NIC president on accreditation review: ‘It was tough to read the room’

For North Idaho College, the verdict is about three weeks away.

Regional accreditors have made their decision about the fate of the embattled Coeur d’Alene-based community college, President Nick Swayne said Wednesday. But the announcement won’t come before July 21.

Nick Swayne

Meanwhile, Swayne says he has no idea what to expect.

“The commissioners contained their facial expressions and body language, so we really did not get any hint toward the outcome,” Swayne wrote in a message to the NIC community, recounting his meeting with accreditors Friday. “It was tough to read the room.”

Swayne, NIC board Chairman Greg McKenzie and five senior college administrators met with Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities members in Seattle. The meeting represented the college’s last chance to make its case to remain accredited.

If NWCCU pulls accreditation, the decision could have a profound impact on the college and its 4,000 students. NIC students would not be able to transfer credits to another school, or qualify for financial aid such as Idaho’s Opportunity Scholarship.

NIC’s accreditation has been in question, as the college faces an ongoing leadership exodus: Swayne is the college’s fourth president in the past two years. Meanwhile, accreditors have pointed to dysfunction on the college’s five-member board, which has often been deadlocked along ideological lines since the 2020 elections.

While Swayne didn’t have a read on NWCCU’s decision, he did offer a sense on timing.

After Friday’s meeting, the NWCCU will take 30 days to write its decision. That translates to a decision on July 23, but that’s a Sunday. So, Swayne said, word could come on July 21, a Friday.

Until then, he said, “We were told we would not be given a hint about the decision.”


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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