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North Idaho College's accreditation questioned by lawmakers

The Idaho State Flag hanging inside the Statehouse Rotunda.
James Dawson
/
Boise State Public Radio

State budget writers grilled the newly installed president of North Idaho College Thursday morning over threats to the institution’s academic accreditation.

Since 2021, NIC’s far-right majority board has fired one president and suspended another while repeatedly violating open meetings laws.

The group backing its accreditation has warned the college the administrative dysfunction puts that credential at risk.

Still, President Gregory South told the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee the school won’t lose accreditation.

“To be certain, it’s a very serious circumstance, but it’s not rocket science,” said South. “If we pull together, as the board is demonstrating here, and as an institution, we can move forward and work through those circumstances.”

All five trustees sat next to each other behind South during his presentation.

Despite that explanation, Rep. Britt Raybould (R-Rexburg) pointedly questioned him about the college’s academic and repercussions it could have for taxpayers.

“In the event your institution loses accreditation, what does that do long-term from a financial standpoint?” Raybould asked.

South dismissed the question – citing the advice of the accrediting body’s president whom he met with shortly after assuming his position.

“He stressed that it’s very important and premature that we do not speculate on those matters as an institution,” South said.

Losing accreditation would mean students could have trouble transferring credits to other schools and programs would not be certified.

More than 11,000 students attended classes at NIC during the 2021-2022 academic year, including high school students who earned dual credit, those participating in workforce training or others who earned their GED. It received $14.5 million in state funding for the current fiscal year.

NIC will undergo a mid-year accreditation review beginning in April.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!

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