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State ed board approves college tuition and fee hikes, with trims

Idaho’s State Board of Education has approved tuition increases for next year of 4 percent at BSU and the University of Idaho, 2 percent at Lewis-Clark State College and 3.5 percent at Idaho State University. The board trimmed back the requested increases for both BSU and UI, which had sought a 4.7 percent tuition and fee increase; board members said they wanted to hold the hikes to no more than 4 percent. “The board recognizes how difficult it is for our students to bear the cost of their public higher education,” said board President Don Soltman.

The state board is meeting today and tomorrow in Moscow; you can see their full tuition and fee announcement here. Oddly, not addressed in the announcement – but covered in the chart at the end – is Eastern Idaho Technical College’s request for a 6.3 percent increase in tuition and fees, which the board approved. That jumps annual tuition and fees at the school from $2,122 to $2,256. The board’s announcement is headed “Tuition and fees held at low levels,” and notes that full-time tuition and fees in Idaho are low compared to peer institutions both in the west and nationwide.

BSU requested a 6.1 percent increase for full-time students and 1.5 percent for part-time; the board approved 5.5 percent for full-time and 1.5 percent for part-time, for an average across the student body of 4 percent. Tuition and fees to attend BSU full-time will rise from $6,292 this year to $6,640 next year; at the U of I, it’ll go from $6,524 this year to $6,784 next year.

State Board OKs tuition hikes, but trims those for BSU, U of I

Idaho's state Board of Education today approved tuition increases for the state's colleges and universities, but trimmed the requests from both the University of Idaho and Boise State University. The U of I was approved for a 5 percent increase, short of the 5.9 percent it requested; and BSU for 6.9 percent, short of the 8.6 percent requested. “The board recognizes the need to balance access and affordability with the ability to maintain quality programs and facilities at our public institutions,” said Board President Ken Edmunds.ISU got its requested 4.5 percent increase; LCSC got its requested 4 percent; and Eastern Idaho Technical College got its requested 4.9 percent. Click below for the state board's full announcement; you can read a full report here from AP reporter Hannah Furfaro. BSU issued a news release about how the increase fits into its plans to shift toward charging tuition on a per-credit basis; you can read it here.

State Board of Ed meeting in Moscow today, considering higher ed tuition increases

The State Board of Education is meeting in Moscow on the University of Idaho campus today, and considering tuition and fee increase proposals for state colleges and universities. The U of I is requesting a 5.9 percent increase in tuition and fees next year; BSU, 8.6 percent; ISU, 4.5 percent; Eastern Idaho Technical College, 4.9 percent; and Lewis-Clark State College, 4 percent.

Since fiscal year 2009, state funding for the four-year institutions, UI, BSU, ISU and LCSC, has dropped by $41.1 million, while total tuition and fee revenue has increased by $74.7 million. So far this morning, U of I officials and student leaders have spoken out in support of the proposed increase; you can watch live here. State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna said, “I don’t think we talk much about what a bargain it is to go to our universities here in Idaho, when you look at even the surrounding states, what they charge.”

With the proposed increases, full-time resident tuition and fees for a year at the U of I next year would be $6,580; at BSU, $6,392; at ISU, $6,344; at EITC, $2,122; and at LCSC, $5,784.

State Board OKs higher ed tuition hikes; says rates ‘still the best deal in town’

The State Board of Education has approved tuition and fee increases proposed by the state's colleges and universities for next year as requested by each institution: 4 percent for Lewis-Clark State College; 6.1 percent for the University of Idaho; 5.7 percent for Boise State University; 4.7 percent for Idaho State University; and 4.7 percent for Eastern Idaho Technical College. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.

All the votes were unanimous except the U of I and BSU increases, which passed on 5-2 votes, after board member Ken Edmunds said he worried that state lawmakers expected lower increases and said, “Regardless of what's happening in other states, the barrier to our students is significant … due to financial issues.” Edmunds and board President Richard Westerberg cast the dissenting votes.

Student body officials from the schools backed the increases; among their reasons: If the schools can't hire enough instructors for them to get the classes they need, they can't graduate on time, and their education will cost even more. BSU President Bob Kustra told the board, “We are all dealing with what is a balancing act, balancing affordability against the quality of the education we are able to afford our students.” He noted that after an extensive public-involvement program on his campus, the recommendation presented to him was for a 7.2 percent increase, but he worried about the message that would send to prospective parents and students “about the cost of higher education today. … I came down on 5.7 percent as a realistic approach to what Boise State needs to fund itself.”

He noted, “We are agonizing here over what is … some of the most modest, affordable, bargain-rated tuitions anywhere in the United States of America. That's really a credit, I think, to this board, it's a credit to the universities the board holds responsible that we can do what we do with the minimum expenditure from our students when it comes to tuition.”

ISU President Arthur Vailas told the board that public university tuition has been going up across the country for years, whether state appropriations are up or down. “It's because the universities … have been in a catch-up mode for the last 25 years,” he said.

Board member Milford Terrell, who made all the motions, cited “the compelling arguments that I've heard here today that we're still under most of our sister institutions throughout the United States. … We're still the best deal in town.”

Board of Ed considers tuition, fee increases for universities…

The state board of Education is currently hearing pitches from state universities for tuition fee hikes for next year; University of Idaho President Duane Nellis said the UI's proposed 6.1 percent increase is “a very important figure to help us stabilize our situation after four years of cuts.” It would mean an additional $356 a year for resident students. Samantha Perez, student body president, told the board students have been strongly supportive of the plan. “I haven't received one verbal or written complaint about the proposal,” she said. If the increase were approved, the UI's resident tuition and fees for a year would rise to $6,212, Nellis said, while the average among comparable schools is nearly $8,300. You can watch the meeting live online here.
  

Idaho universities tone down their tuition hike requests for next year

Idaho's state universities overall are looking at lower tuition increases next year than they've imposed in recent years, AP reporter Jessie Bonner reports; the universities will make their pitch to the State Board of Education next week. Click below to read Bonner's full report.

College tuition, fee hikes approved

The Idaho State Board of Education has voted to approve, as requested, proposed tuition and fee increases from the state's four-year colleges and universities: 8.4 percent at the University of Idaho; 7 percent each at ISU and LCSC; and 5 percent at Boise State University. “The institutions have a very difficult challenge,” said state board President Richard Westerberg. “Declining funding from the state of Idaho places more burden on students and their family. The proposals before us today reflected a cooperative effort between administrations, faculty, staff and students.” You can read the board's full announcement here.

Then, the state board heard from and questioned state schools Superintendent Tom Luna about his “Students Come First” reform plan, including online course requirements; some members expressed reservations about setting a rule requiring online courses before a state task force finishes studying the issue, while others supported more online courses sooner. The board asked its staff to look into the process it should follow, and said it may hold a special meeting on the matter this spring; then on Thursday, it appointed board secretary Don Soltman to work with staff on that. “Don's going to take a couple of weeks and get with staff and work with all of us on, is this possible, in terms of meeting the time requirements to have a rule before the Legislature in January and all of that,” said board spokesman Mark Browning. The board may form a task force, but it's “not yet constituted,” he said. Far from being “up and running” on developing a rule, Browning said, “We're still trying to figure out where we're running to.”

State board considering student tuition, fee hikes at colleges and universities

Here's a link to the live webcast of today's State Board of Education meeting in Moscow, at which the board is considering proposed student tuition and fee increases at Idaho's colleges and universities. Lewis-Clark State College, which is presenting now, is seeking a 7 percent increase, as is Idaho State University; BSU wants 5 percent, and the University of Idaho is looking for an 8.4 percent increase. (Note: If the webcast is playing music, they're on a break.)
  

State Board: Tuition hikes may exceed 10 percent next year

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press:  BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The state Board of Education will once again allow Idaho’s public universities to seek tuition and fee increases of more than 10 percent. Trustees voted 7-1 on Thursday to temporarily waive the board policy that prohibits requests for tuition increases of more than 10 percent for full-time students. Board members have stressed that the one-year waiver does not mean they will automatically approve the higher tuition and fee requests in April. The board waived the policy last year, but did not approve any increases above 10 percent. Students at Idaho universities and colleges are now paying between 8.75 percent to 9.5 percent more in tuition and fees compared to last year.

Ed Board votes 5-1 to waive 10 percent cap on tuition hikes for one year

Idaho’s State Board of Education has voted 5-1 to waive its 10 percent cap on tuition and fee increases for state colleges and universities for one year. The lone dissenter was board member Ken Edmunds. We know this thanks to the very efficient Twitter posts of board spokesman Mark Browning, who has been sending up-to-the-minute tweets all day on the action at the State Board meeting in Twin Falls. The move is designed to allow flexibility for colleges and universities as they plan for next year in the face of state budget cuts and swelling college enrollments.

Earlier, the board voted unanimously to approve a deal with J.R. Simplot Co. to save the Parma university extension research center; extension centers at Sandpoint and Tetonia are now guaranteed funding through June 30, the end of the current fiscal year. All three were threatened by budget cuts.

State Ed Board to consider waiving 10% cap on tuition hikes

Idaho’s State Board of Education will decide tomorrow whether to temporarily waive its rule that caps tuition and fee increases for state colleges and universities at 10 percent a year. It’s not that any school has proposed a larger increase; the board is being proactive and taking up the issue long before tuition for next year will be set in April. Board spokesman Mark Browning said the idea is to decide early whether the state’s higher education institutions should have more flexibility on that issue as they contemplate next year’s budget in a time of sharp state budget cuts and fast-growing student populations. This year, tuition and fee increases ranged from 7 percent at Lewis-Clark State College to 5 percent at Boise State University.

The board imposed the 10 percent cap out of concern that increases were getting out of hand in the early part of the decade, Browning said. But there’s also concern about cutting college offerings when enrollment is swelling. “It’s a very tough balancing act for the board,” he said.

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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