UI president aims for sharp boost in enrollment

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) - The University of Idaho plans a more aggressive strategy to entice Idaho high school grads and bump enrollment at its Moscow campus from 11,000 to 15,000 over several years.

"We have hired a person to help us institute a little bit more aggressive enrollment-management strategy," UI President Chuck Staben told Coeur d'Alene Press in a story on Friday.

He said attaining the goal is possible.

"There are significant numbers of qualified high-school graduates who do not proceed on to post-secondary education in Idaho," Staben said. "So being more effective at encouraging those students to come to the university or become more educated in some way is a significant market."

He added that all colleges in the state need to step up their enrollment to meet Idaho's goals of increasing the percentage of its population with a college education. He also said the University of Idaho could tap a "regional market," particularly in California.

"With some of the difficulties that the California higher-ed system faces, I think we can continue to be successful in that sort of regional recruiting," Staben said.

On a different front, he said the school will coordinate with North Idaho College and Lewis-Clark State College about what classes it offers at its Coeur d'Alene center.

"We need to pretty carefully assess what the needs are in Coeur d'Alene and make sure that we meet those needs," he said. "We have a significant number of place-bound students here who are not likely to go to the university's main campus in Moscow. We offer a few programs here. I'm not doubting that those programs are important, but I don't know that's exactly the right mix of what we should be doing."

He noted that center-based education like the school offers in Coeur d'Alene has declined in the past five years as more students opt for online classes.

Student numbers at the Coeur d'Alene center have held steady the last five years at about 400.

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Information from: Coeur d'Alene Press