North Island College

North Island College (NIC) is a comprehensive community college serving 159,000 residents on Vancouver Island and the central BC coast. NIC is distinguished by its commitment to student success and strong partnership agreements with universities and colleges across BC, the US and around the world. The college has been internationally recognized for its technology-enabled distance learning and is widely known for its quality programs, low tuition, small class sizes and applied learning opportunities. NIC was established in 1975 and proudly serves more than 9,000 domestic and international students annually who rely on NIC for university transfer and academic upgrading, health and human services, engineering, trades, technology and apprenticeship training, fine arts, business and tourism programs, as well as short-term professional and personal development courses.

They offer more than 1,000 courses and 80 credit programs to students in the Comox Valley, Campbell River, Port Alberni, Port Hardy, and a learning centre in Ucluelet, as well as through many programs delivered with remote communities across 80,000 square kilometers on Vancouver Island and the BC coast. NIC’s Shadbolt Studio and Trades Training Centre at the Comox Valley campus provide spacious studio and workshop space for fine arts and trades training students.

Fast Facts

  • The BC Student Outcomes Survey reports 93% of NIC graduates say they were very satisfied or satisfied with their education.
  • NIC and its students added $223.3 million in 2012/2013 to the North Island economy through operations, spending, higher earnings and increased productivity.
  • NIC serves the largest population of all BC’s rural colleges. It serves 159,000 people, across 80,000 square kilometres on Vancouver Island and the BC coast.




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This is how we...

Contribute to our Community

A new Education Assistant program is putting students and communities first on Vancouver Island. In 2016, NIC moved the part-time program from Port Alberni north to Port Hardy, to give students in rural communities the ability to live, work and stay connected to their families while they prepare to support First Nations culture and curriculum in schools and the community. The program, which weaves Aboriginal and western ways of knowing throughout the curriculum, is an example of NIC’s in-community delivery model. The students-first philosophy builds relationships, empowers communities and makes education possible across the North Island – one student, one program and one community at a time. In 2012, the program was offered in the remote West Coast community of Ahousaht, where nearly half of the West Coast communities’ residents are under 19 years old. NIC worked with the Ahousaht Education Society to hire instructors, find classrooms, and develop an evening schedule for working students. Eight students graduated, changing the post-secondary education history in Ahousaht. “It’s the first time an entire class of students in Ahousaht completed a post-secondary program in their community,” said Kelly Shopland, NIC’s Interim Manager of Aboriginal Education. “It’s historic.”

Foster Student Success

Dawn Tisdale

An NIC nursing student is changing the face of nursing education across Canada, becoming the first NIC student elected to lead a national organization. Dawn Tisdale is the new president of the Canadian Nursing Student Association, the voice of nearly 30,000 student nurses across Canada. One of her first goals was to act on a resolution to ensure registered nursing students understand Aboriginal health perspectives before they graduate. The resolution would see nursing students work with the Aboriginal Nursing Association of Canada to lobby for curriculum changes. In fall, 2015 she helped NIC nursing students host the Western / Prairie Regional CNSA conference at NIC’s Comox Valley campus. Learn more.

Mike McLean

Mike McLean graduated from NIC’s Industrial Automation Technician diploma in 2014 with multiple job offers. McLean, a self-described mechanics and electronics geek, moved to Vancouver Island for the program, which offered a broad range of skills in a short time frame. “NIC’s Industrial Automation program gave me the skills employers are looking for,” he said. Many of my classmates chose where they wanted to work on graduation. I had job offers in Campbell River, Nanaimo and Alberta.” Learn more.

Max Watamaniuk

In 2015, NIC Engineering student Max Watamaniuk started his studies at NIC earning academic accolades and sizeable scholarships. Watamaniuk, one of 150 students to benefit from NIC’s Dual Admission partnership agreement with UVic in the past five years, credits NIC instructors for their insight into how to apply classroom learning to real-life situations. As part of the agreement, students are eligible for scholarships and awards from both institutions, while they take first and second year courses close to home at NIC. “NIC smoothed my transition from high school to university,” said Max Watamaniuk, who received a $16,000 scholarship from UVic in 2014. “I didn’t have to worry about finding housing or living by myself on top of attending UVic in my first year.” Learn more.

Partner with Business and Community


NIC’s Centre for Applied Research, Technology and Innovation (CARTI) helps businesses and communities harness the power of NIC faculty experts, creative students and research funding. In 2015, the centre helped industry automate, innovate and grow. It was involved in a number of industry projects, including two nationally funded research projects on sustainable aquaculture techniques and the measurement and analysis of indicator species on the ocean floor. It also connected Industrial Automation students with a sparkling wine manufacturer to automate the bottling process while keeping patented bubbles intact, tested a patented underwater monitors for use in the fisheries and stream keeping industries, helped elementary school students access Lego robotics over the Internet, and enhanced partnerships between farmers, hospitals, and public institutions to support local food distribution systems. Learn more.

NIC regularly works with businesses locally and around the world to create co-op, internship and mentorship opportunities for students. In 2014, NIC created a partnership with the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce to connect students and business leaders for a one of a kind mentorship program. The Global Leaders of Tomorrow program matches business leaders with accounting, marketing, management and tourism students eager to connect and learn from their community. The program started as a pilot project in 2014 and has more than doubled in size a year later. Learn more.

Support Indigenous Students

In May 2015, NIC and regional Indigenous communities signed Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan)’s historic Indigenous Education Protocol at a ceremony hosted by the K’ómoks First Nation. NIC has a well-established core of Aboriginal Education offerings and services, including an Indigenous Focus certificate in Education Assistant/Community Support, a First Nations Transition program, priority admission for Aboriginal applicants in select health and community care programs, as well as Indigenous-focused academic upgrading and university transfer programs. NIC also partners with First Nations groups to provide access to educational programs and training in community to integrate cultural awareness and Indigenous ways of knowing and being with local social and labour market needs. In addition, NIC prioritizes Aboriginal Education and Indigenization in its 2016-2020 College Plan, which includes significant efforts to build existing relationships with Indigenous communities and enhance Indigenous-centred services, learning environments and community spaces and student success.

NIC has full-time Aboriginal Education Advisors at each of its four campuses who support students at all stages of their academic careers. Advisors regularly provide services across the region. NIC also has four half-time Elders in Residence who support student access, retention, transition and completion, faculty and staff professional development and the provision of courses and programs on campus. The Elders also enhance receptivity and relevance of Aboriginal Education programming through community outreach.

Programs & Services of Interest

Date modified: 2016-10-27