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How North Idaho College’s accreditation fell under threat

How North Idaho College’s accreditation fell under threat

Higher Ed Dive

Lilah Burke
March 6, 2024
Nick Swayne is the president of North Idaho College. He’s been president of the Coeur d’Alene community college since March 2023 — or, depending on your perspective, since August 2022.
That discrepancy is because Swayne was placed on administrative leave for undisclosed reasons by the college’s trustee board in December 2022 and replaced with an interim president. Then, he sued the board to get his job back.
“I came here to be the president, not sit in my house and collect a paycheck,” he said in an interview.
Swayne’s personal saga is just one aspect of the dysfunction that has been plaguing North Idaho College’s board and has threatened its accreditation. Multiple lawsuits over the board’s behavior, along with no-confidence votes from college employees and frequent turnover in leadership, also caught the eye of the institution’s accreditor, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
The NWCCU has placed the North Idaho College on show-cause order — the last step before the agency can pull accreditation — and has given officials until April 2025 to fix key issues.
Losing accreditation is a death sentence for most colleges, which rely on this seal of approval to receive federal financial aid. More than one-third of the college’s students, 38%, received Pell Grants in the 2021-22 academic year, and 28% received federal student loans, according to government data.
However, Swayne and others say the campus community is cautiously optimistic that the college will be able to overcome its past to remain an accredited anchor institution in northern Idaho.
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