Wednesday Idaho’s universities will ask the State Board of Education to raise student tuition. Meanwhile, the state has already signed off on an increase to higher education for the first time in several years. The universities say that financial boost doesn’t cover operating expenses.
Chris Rosenbaum points to columns of numbers on the printout on her desk. It shows Boise State University’s budget going back longer than some of its students have been alive. But the school’s Executive Budget Director says two numbers stand out.
“We have 12 percent enrollment growth since 2009," she says. "We’ve had declining budget at that same time from the state, a 20 million reduction.”
Rosenbaum says the 8.6 percent funding boost lawmakers approved for 2013 doesn’t go far enough. She says it’s not just rapid student growth that’s stretching resources. Rising healthcare costs, new buildings and the 2 percent pay increase which lawmakers approved, all adds up. At the University of Idaho, Executive Planning and Budget Director Keith Ickes says just to pay for those raises they’d have to increase tuition more than 5 percent. A state board of education spokesperson says the tuition hike requests are not a surprise because the board knows the boost in state funding won’t pay for the raises.
Ickes says U of I students support the 6.1 percent increase the school wants. Meanwhile Boise State will ask for a 5.7 percent tuition increase. At a recent public meeting on the tuition hike not one Boise State student spoke against it. Outgoing student body president Brandi VanOrder says that’s typical.
“They’re preemptively accepted. Students know or expect that tuition will increase at least a little bit every year,” VanOrder says.
In VanOrder’s four years at the university, tuition has gone up more than five hundred dollars a semester. In fact Boise State’s tuition has gone up every year since 1995.