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Eye On Boise

Wed., April 19, 2017, 3:46 p.m.

State Ed Board approves 3.5% tuition hikes for U of I, BSU, LCSC

Idaho’s state Board of Education, meeting in Moscow today, has voted to raise student tuition and fees at the University of Idaho, Boise State University and Lewis-Clark State College by 3.5 percent.

That’s well under the requests from the two largest universities. The U of I had proposed a 6 percent increase in full-time, resident undergraduate tuition and fees. Boise State had proposed a 5.1 percent hike.

The board approved a 3 percent increase for Idaho State University, and 2.5 percent for Eastern Idaho Technical College; that matched their requests.

College and university presidents warned lawmakers during this year’s Idaho legislative session that if they increased state employee pay by 3 percent – which they did – without adding additional funding to help the universities cover that cost, tuition would rise. Lawmakers set a budget for Idaho’s four-year colleges and universities for next year that reflected just a 2.7 percent increase in state funding.

University of Idaho President Chuck Staben told the Idaho Legislature’s joint budget committee in January that the U of I gets only about 20 percent of its funding from the state, and if it has to raise pay for all employees, including those paid for by other funds, it’d need to raise tuition unless lawmakers made up the difference. “U of I offers a great education at a cost below the national average. We have minimized tuition increases during my presidency,” Staben said. But he said for every 1 percent increase in state employee pay the state authorizes, the cost to the university would force a 1 percent tuition increase.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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