Here’s a link to my full story at spokesman.com on the tuition and fee increases for Idaho state colleges and universities approved by the state Board of Education today, which range from 1.7 percent to 3.5 percent next year for resident undergraduates. The fees will largely go to cover salary and benefit increases approved by state lawmakers this year, but not fully funded from state funds.
University of Idaho President Chuck Staben offered in January to freeze university tuition next year, if lawmakers would cover the full costs universities will face for the 3 percent raises they approved for state workers next year, including those at universities. Undergraduate resident tuition at the U of I has been rising each year for more than two decades; employee costs take up 75 to 80 percent of its budget.
Lawmakers declined; they’ve made that move, called a “fund shift,” for universities in nine of the past 18 years, but not once since the economic downturn hit in 2008. The budget they approved for Idaho’s colleges and universities next year shows an overall increase in state funds of 3 percent; Gov. Butch Otter signed it into law on Friday. “The board and the university share a commitment to accessible, affordable education,” Staben said today. “This modest increase allows us to maintain quality at moderate costs to Idaho students and families.”