The answer to Idaho's higher education funding conundrum - more students, less money - can't just be raising tuition rates further, state Board of Education President Richard Westerberg told lawmakers. “Longterm in Idaho, we cannot continue to raise tuitions at the rate we have in the past. It's an unsustainable course,” he said. He noted that in 1991, students paid 12 percent of the cost of their education in tuition and fees; today, it's 39 percent. Though Idaho's tuition rates remain lower than some other states, he said, “In Idaho, our ability to pay is less.” Idahoans have lower incomes, he said. “Remember our goal is to get more students to go on to higher education. If we continue to raise the cost to do that, that seems to me to be counterproductive.”
JFAC Co-Chair Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, told him, “We understand it's not an easy task that you have. So much is expected, and so little is given in here.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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