Northwest Indian College


Located in the Washington State community of Bellingham, the Northwest Indian College has been operating since 1979 to provide primarily Native American students with a higher education. In that year, the school was founded as the Lummi Indian School of Aquaculture, changing names to the Lummi Community College in 1983 and acquiring its present name by 1989.

In addition to its main campus in Bellingham, Northwest Indian College (also known as NWIC) has additional outreach campuses in the Washington State communities of Auburn, Olympia, Kingston, La Conner, Tulalip, and Nespelem.

Despite being profoundly associated with the Lummi tribe and Native American society in general, Northwest Indian College is a public institution that is open to all applicants.

Information Summary

Ranks 41st in Washington and 3213th overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 47.9
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $13,989
Admission Success rate N/A
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 15 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 45% / N/A
Enrollment Total (all students) 535


Northwest Indian College has been receiving full accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities since 1993, and it is the only accredited Indian college throughout the northwestern states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Furthermore, it receives accreditation and approval from Washington’s Higher Education Coordinating Board and the school is a member of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, the American Council on Education, and the American Association of Community Colleges.

The maximum academic degree available at NWIC is a bachelor’s degree, with associate degrees and individual certificates also available. A token sampling of degrees and certificates at NWIC might include: a Bachelor’s Degree in Native Environmental Science; an Associate of Arts and Sciences Degree in Native American Studies; an Associate of Technical Studies in Chemical Dependency Studies; and a Certificate of Computer Repair Technician.

Most Popular Fields of Study


As mentioned, all applicants are welcome to request admission to Northwest Indian College. The school has an open admissions policy, and therefore all qualified applicants will be accepted for studies; at the same time, the school makes an active effort to seek out Native American and First Tribes aspiring college students in order to fulfill its overarching purpose of serving the educational needs of this community.

Admissions requirements simply state that an applicant must either have completed high school or received their GED or be above the age of 18; those under 18 and above 16 must be given special permission from their school district to enroll at Northwest Indian College.

Admissions procedures for degree- or certificate-seeking students are as follows: a completed application form must be submitted and secondly a certificate of tribal membership (in a tribe recognized by the federal government) or conversely a tribal certification release form (in the case of non-Native American applicants) must be submitted.

For the purposes of determining tuition status, Northwest Indian College considers students to benefit from resident rates if they have tribal certification or if they are non-residents that: have proven Native American ancestry and are living within or close to a reservation; are the employee of NWIC or one of the tribal agencies within its service area; are the spouse or the dependent of one of NWIC’s employees or an employee of one of the tribal agencies in its service area; or if they happen to be a resident student’s dependent or spouse. All other applicants will be charged non-resident tuition rates.


As mentioned, despite the fact that NWIC is principally focused on providing higher education to the Native American population in the region, non-Native American students also make up the student body (with a share of roughly one-quarter).

On-campus housing is available at NWIC although at present there is only one such building situated in the main Bellingham campus. The school has recently implemented a student housing residence requirement whereby new students within the 18-24 age bracket must live in the residence hall, with certain exceptions.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


Although the school is not officially a member of any national or regional athletic conference and its sports teams are all at the intramural or club level, NWIC does have a handful of exciting athletics opportunities for students in games such as basketball, soccer, track and field, etc. The school’s athletics colors are red and white.

NWIC has serious and stringent policies regarding participation in intramural sports, and such is prohibited for varsity players and people that have received compensation for their participation in a given game.

The school has developed various corporate sponsorship alliances through its athletics programs, and a few names associated with NWIC athletics include Nike, State Street Depot, Silver Reef Casino, and Northwest Recycling.

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