Nebraska Indian College Expecting Greater State Support

Nov 15th, 1990 | By | Category: 2-3: Management Across Cultures, Tribal College News
By Daniel Carrigg

Nebraska Indian College President Thelma Thomas

Calling it “a good day for the Indian people in Nebraska,” Nebraska Indian Community College President Thelma Thomas hailed the election of Democrat Ben Nelson as the state’s new governor.

For the past two years, the former governor, Republican Karen Orr, vetoed a legislature-approved bill for $24,100 to offset the uncompensated cost of the school’s non-Indian students.

The new governor stated publicly that he would not veto any appropriations that are targeted by the legislature for the college.

Now Thomas is gearing up for what she sees as a winning push for the financial stability of the college. This time she intends to ask for a compensation level at least equal to the money received for Indian students.

“We know that it could bring us a minimum of $50,000 per year,” says Thomas.

Thomas’ optimism for NICC is in strong contrast to the situation that existed at the college in 1988, when she stepped in as president.

At that time, the college faced severe problems: declining enrollment, a limited budget, and an upcoming accreditation review.

Now enrollment is up 64 percent, the budget is $1.2 million, and staff passed the accreditation review by compressing what is commonly a two year process into a two month effort.

Thomas attributes NICC’s success to long hours and hard work.

“The credit for turning this college around goes to a dedicated board of trustees and staff,” says Thomas. “It wasn’t just eight hour days, it was 10’s, 12’s, and 14’s.”

Thomas’ future plans for the college focus on increasing enrollment and graduation rates, adding to the school’s endowment fund, hiring additional faculty, and enhancing the basic skills programs on the college’s three campuses.

Thomas is encouraged at the NICC’s prospects.

“I think our groundwork is laid,” said Thomas. “The future is optimistic.”

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