7 Reasons for a Community College
"Eastern Idaho is the only region in this state without a community college and our [the INL's] workforce development efforts have been handicapped as a result. A community college in the local area is missing element to help fill technically based needs and/or to provide a starting place for students at an affordable cost that want to go on to another Idaho University." -- Amy Lientz, the INL's Director of Partnerships, Engagement and Technology Deployment (in statement released to the media)
- Fill the needs of employers: The number of local job openings requiring college has tripled since 2009. Local employers report they need more workers with quality education, training and skills. A community college will help fill the gap. View explanatory videos here, here and here.
Boost the local economy: A community college is a critical tool to recruit new companies to the area (see the impact of CSI in Magic Valley in recruiting new companies to that area here). A recent report by the community college study panel calculated that a local community college will sustain 900 local jobs and generate $66 million in annual local economic activity by the sixth year. Economic impact calculated by the Research & Business Development Center in Rexburg (staffed by BYU-Idaho professors). View the full report here (particularly pages 30-40). Also, see the impact on helping local residents get employment here.
- Enhance technical education: EITC's current technical offerings will be preserved as-is and augmented with additional options. Read the Post Register story on this issue here. See the wider selection of technical programs available at the College of Western Idaho (here) and North Idaho College (here).
Cut the cost of higher education: Tuition will be 65% less than ISU and more than 20% less than BYI-Idaho, resulting in significant savings to local students and their families. That will reduce the burden of student loans and other expenses.
Smooth credit transfers: Credits will freely transfer (unlike now) to other Idaho colleges.
Expand access to dual credits: Local high school students will be able to earn more college credits at less cost (only $65 a credit). Read the Post Register story on the issue here. Of note, EITC today can't offer dual credits. As a consequence, high school students in District 91 and District 93, because only limited ISU and CSI courses are available locally, take dual credit courses at 1/8th the frequency of students in the Pocatello School District which has easy access to ISU courses. A community college will offer local high students far more inexpensive dual credits.
- Boost local control: The new College of Eastern Idaho will be governed by a local board of trustees. They will stand for election locally, putting the people of Bonneville County in charge of the new college's future.
Want to dig into the details? Read the report of the Community College Study Panel.
Why is the cost of creating a community college here so low?
The most expensive part of creating a community college is buildings – which EITC already has for 4,000 students. In addition, the Idaho Legislature has set aside $5 million for start-up costs.
Still, creating a community college in Idaho does require some local support. It is estimated that the cost to the average homeowner in Bonneville County would be $13.37/per year or $1.11/month, roughly 1/3 of the cost of the current county dump. For commercial property, the cost should be $15/per year per $100,000 of value. These numbers are based upon EITC's actual expenses plus those associated with offering community college courses. Our group has committed to pushing the State Board of Education to only appoint initial governing trustees who will implement these numbers.
Want to know more? Review our Frequently Asked Questions.
View videos by various Bonneville County residents here.
What Local Residents Say:
"Eastern Idaho will greatly benefit from more training and technology education to support our growing need in skilled labor and certified talent. The governor’s support and willingness to invest $5 million into an eastern Idaho community college connects the needs of industry to education to develop more talent — from welders to radiological technicians and lab technicians.” --- Stephanie Cook, INL’s Economic and Workforce Development program manager
"We need a community college more than ever. With the cost of higher education soaring we need an affordable option for education and workforce development. The students in our community deserve every opportunity for success and I am willing to invest in them." --- Ammon Mayor Dana Kirkham
“I think there is a demand for a community college. Over the last year, the Idaho Falls area has led the country in job growth. It’s a very tight labor market, so the better trained you are, the more you’re going to be worth." --- Christopher St Jeor, regional economist for the Idaho Department of Labor