Friday Boise State University’s President goes before students and faculty to talk about the school’s 2013 budget. That includes a tuition increase and, for the first time in years, a boost in state funding. BSU’s increase from the state is larger than either ISU or the University of Idaho in part because it’s had faster student growth.
Boise State saw big jumps in student enrollment during the recession. There were a thousand more Broncos in the fall of 2010 than in 2009. Mara Affre, Boise State’s Assistant Vice President for Enrollment says, “When the economy goes down, enrollment in higher ed goes up.”
But that 2010 enrollment was the peak at just short of 20 thousand students. It dropped off slightly last fall. Affre says that’s a sign the economy is improving. “They’re now not in the classroom because they’ve been given an opportunity back in the world of work.”
Affre says other factors contribute to leveling BSU enrollment, like continuing growth at the College of Western Idaho. For next year’s budget the university is counting on student numbers to stay flat. Fall enrollment projections are an educated guess but Affre says the university likes to budget conservatively.
“It’s always better to plan for a certain level in terms of enrollment, then have more students as opposed to if you were planning for larger numbers and they didn’t materialize.”
Big jumps in student numbers bring challenges to universities such as class availability, but Affre says the students also bring the money that’s used to alleviate those challenges. About 50 percent of Boise State’s budget comes from student tuition and fees.