Athletics will be the focus when the University of Idaho and Boise State University propose student fee increases to the state Board of Education on Wednesday.
University administrators have been warned by the board against increasing fees to support a change in athletic conferences. The board gave Idaho and Boise State permission in September to move from the Big Sky Conference, which plays NCAA Division I-AA football, to the Division I Big West Conference in 1996.
Idaho President Elisabeth Zinser and Boise State President Charles Ruch twice promised the board it would seek no increase in fees for athletics.
That played a role in Idaho’s decision to freeze the percentage of student fees earmarked for athletics at the Moscow school. Hal Godwin, vice president for student affairs and university relations, said Idaho officials also decided they would try to keep the overall increase down.
Still, Idaho students are facing a proposed $67 increase in resident undergraduate student fees, bringing the total semester cost to $841.
Boise State students face a possible $91 increase in student fees, bringing semester costs to $881. According to the initial proposal for the increase, $14 of that will go toward intercollegiate athletics.
But David Taylor, Boise State’s vice president for student affairs, said the proposed increase has nothing to do with the move to the Big West. The last hike that went toward athletics was 10 years ago, and this year’s request is to cover inflation and to help address gender equity issues, Taylor said.
Jerry Wallace, Idaho’s vice president for finance and administration, said the Moscow school also has made no inflationary adjustment to its student fees for athletics in about a decade. Wallace said the university is trying to address gender equity needs by reallocating money from other areas and auxiliary services.