CALDWELL, Idaho — Idaho colleges and universities have their hands full, in a good way, after the state’s implementation of a one-stop shop for students to submit college applications, and the program is working well for The College of Idaho.
The College of Idaho joined the Next Steps program ahead of this school year, with a goal of increasing the number of Idahoans attending the college.
This year they set the record for the highest incoming class. Their goal was easily achieved thanks to Next Steps.
The college brought in an extra 17-hundred applications, added onto the number they already receive on a yearly basis, at a school with a student population of just 11-hundred.
“We increased our Idaho numbers this year, and absolutely Apply Idaho had, maybe not all to do with it, but certainly was a key component,” said Mike Burdine, Director of Admission at The College of Idaho.
Burdine said Next Steps definitely was key to increasing their Idaho student population by 10 percent.
“In the nation in higher ed, it's, I would say it's very competitive and anytime at the end of the year if you can say we met or exceeded your goal in this market, not a lot of people are saying that," said Burdine.
Idaho’s higher ed task force aims to have 60 percent of Idahoans ages 25 to 34 receive some type of post secondary education by 2020.
That’s where the Next Steps program comes in. It was created by the Idaho State Board of Ed a few years ago as a one-stop shop for Idaho students to submit one application, that will then be sent to 10 public and private colleges and universities in the state.
“We met students along the way that we probably wouldn’t have if we weren’t on Apply Idaho, and students that actually ended up enrolling because they had access,” said Burdine.
Another big draw for the Next Steps program: it’s totally free to the student. There are no hefty application fees to worry about when the cost of tuition is already at the forefront of an incoming students mind.
Governor Little declared the month of October as Next Steps month, and as of Tuesday students could begin submitting their college applications through the Next Steps program.
If students want to apply for scholarships, they may need to fill out additional applications.