Responding to a question from Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, BSU President Bob Kustra said 25 percent of Boise State’s students are now from out of state. “Boise State University has become a very popular place” for students from Seattle, Portland, the Bay Area, Southern California, the Phoenix area, and some from Texas, he said. “If you want to go all the way back to what really started it, I suppose it was the 2007 Fiesta Bowl,” Kustra said. “It really has added a dimension to Boise State that’s very attractive.”
He noted that unlike in-state students, out-of-state students are charged out-of-state tuition “that pays the full cost of education.” Kustra also noted that the University of Oregon, for example, has 45 percent of its students coming from out of state.
Among other questions from members of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee: Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, said she wished “STEM,” or science, technology, engineering and math, could be changed to “STEAM” to add an ‘A’ for the arts. Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, agreed, saying, “Arts are very important. They make a well-rounded person.”
Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, JFAC co-chairman, asked Kustra how Idaho can get more of its students to go on to higher education. Kustra said, “Start with families, and start with families of young children.” Sports can even play a role, he said, “if you can get an 8-year-old’s attention because he loves a university’s football team or basketball team,” and tell that child, “You can go there someday.” The greatest challenge, he said, is to help families and communities understand the need to go on. Secondly, he said, “I think our high schools still must be transformed into places of learning that are exciting for students.”