NIC faces $5.2 million deficit

North Idaho College could be staring at a $5.2 million budget hole.

On Wednesday night, trustees discussed a 2024-25 spending plan — and tried to get a handle on the potential deficit.

According to the Coeur d’Alene Press, much of the projected deficit is tied to NIC’s return to the National Junior College Athletics Association. That move could carry a $4.1 million price tag.

Trustee Todd Banducci questioned the $4.1 million estimate.

“I understand being risk averse, but let’s tone down some of the rhetoric,” said Banducci, according to Kaye Thornbrugh of the Press. “It’s almost like it’s a negative that we’re supporting the student athletes, as the president recommended and as the board voted for.”

Sarah Garcia, NIC’s finance and business vice president, said the estimate is probably high. She suggested using budget reserves to cover the $5.2 million deficit. “This is a one-time, one-year fix,” she said, according to Thornbrugh’s report.

An enrollment increase could improve NIC’s budget picture.

Spring headcount was down at NIC this year — while enrollment increased at every other two- and four-year school in the state, as Idaho Education News reported earlier this month. College officials have pointed to some encouraging trends, however. For example, the number of first-time degree-seeking students increased by 18.3% this spring.

“Based on early reports, we’re expecting flat (enrollment) for the first time for fall, maybe even an uptick,” NIC President Nick Swayne told trustees Wednesday, according to Thornbrugh’s report.

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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