Campus news items: C of I, NNU report enrollment decreases

Students walk the Northwest Nazarene University campus at the start of fall semester. (NNU photo)

Enrollment decreased this fall at two Treasure Valley private colleges.

Here are the numbers:

The College of Idaho. The Caldwell-based college reported enrollment of 1,085.

That’s a 5% decrease from C of I’s record enrollment of 1,145, set a year ago.

Freshman enrollment dropped by 9%, with 269 first-year students arriving on campus. But the first-year students arrived with a median high school GPA of 3.85.

“We have an exceptionally talented group of new students joining us this fall, and we are excited to work with them and see what they are able to accomplish during their undergraduate tenure at The College of Idaho,” vice president of enrollment management Brian Bava said in a news release.

International students continue to make up about a fifth of the college’s overall enrollment. The 189 international students come from 81 foreign countries, with the largest group, from Nepal, totaling 26 students.

Northwest Nazarene University. Enrollment continues to decrease, dropping by nearly 7% this year.

The Nampa-based university last week reported a fall enrollment of 1,778: 1,140 undergraduates and 638 graduate students.

NNU reported enrollment of 1,906 a year ago. Student numbers have been decreasing since 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

NNU is attributing this year’s enrollment decreases to increased graduation rates this spring. “Therefore, we had fewer returning students this fall,” university spokesman Robert O’Donohue said in an email.

O’Donohue also pointed to other encouraging metrics. NNU’s retention rate remained high, with 84% of eligible students returning to campus. And 307 first-year students arrived this fall, about 95% of NNU’s enrollment forecast.

“We know that student enrollment numbers fluctuate and prepare in advance for these kinds of changes,” he said. “We are continually looking at data points and adjust our budget accordingly based on these anticipated figures.”

Idaho’s public colleges and universities will report their fall enrollment numbers in late October.

U of I dairy research lab has a 638-acre home

A sprawling University of Idaho dairy research lab is $23 million closer to reality.

The Idaho Land Board last week approved spending the money to acquire 638 acres north of Rupert — land that would house the U of I Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment, or CAFE.

Research at CAFE could cover a range of subjects, such as food safety, water use, wastewater management and odor and emissions control.

The 2,000-head facility would be the nation’s largest research dairy and experimental farm, Keith Ridler of the Associated Press reported.

“Economically, CAFE opens doors for U of I to receive millions of dollars in grant funding for research, unleashing new ideas and innovative solutions for Idaho’s and the nation’s dairy industry,” university president C. Scott Green said after the vote.

CAFE’s research “will ensure our (dairy) industry thrives, adding to Idaho’s diverse and vibrant economy, as well as preparing students to thrive in this industry,” said Gov. Brad Little, who supported the $23 million purchase during the Land Board’s meeting.

Proceeds for the purchase came from the November sale of 282 acres of U of I Agricultural College endowment land in Caldwell. The university owned the 638 acres in Minidoka County, but the transaction will convert the property into endowment land, Ridler reported.

Idaho is the nation’s No. 3 milk producer, and the Idaho dairy industry has already contributed $8.5 million to the CAFE project.

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]

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday