Boise State, University of Idaho enrollments drop

The schools look to program quality and target marketing to help increase numbers.

broberts@idahostatesman.comOctober 23, 2013 

The year-after-year increases in what students must pay to attend Boise State University and University of Idaho are likely not a significant reason for a downturn in enrollment, school officials say.

Between 2004 and 2012, tuition rose about 80 percent at each school. School officials say Idaho tuition still remains reasonable when compared to surrounding western states. At the same time, however, Idaho wages have struggled compared to the rest of the country.

Both schools say they are working to increase their numbers. At Boise State, for example, recruiters are focusing on where out-of-state students come from and are working to get more of them to consider the school for their college, said Greg Hahn, BSU spokesman.

At U of I, the school says it wants to grow its freshman class, which saw a slight increase this year.

"One of the ways we do that is to continue to have quality programs," said Katherine Aiken, interim provost and executive vice president.

Boise State enrollment declined by 3 percent from 2012, to 22,003 students this fall. University of Idaho fall enrollment dropped 5 percent to 11,844 students.

Boise State officials think part of the reason could be more students deciding to attend College of Western Idaho, a more economical alternative.

"The far-sighted creation of CWI by the governor, the Legislature and the voters of the Treasure Valley has played a key role in Boise State's development," said Bob Kustra, Boise State president. "Transferring our land and resources like the Selland College of Applied Technology to CWI has created unfettered opportunities for non-traditional, at-risk and financially savvy students to gain valuable skills and a head start on academic success."

CWI's fall enrollment was nearly flat this year. Total enrollment increased 1 percent to 9,203.

The reason for the decline at U of I: A 6 percent drop in the number of continuing students, to 8,028. The drop was caused by students graduating more quickly because of the reduced number of credits needed to get a diploma, and the falling number of first-year students in the three prior years, school officials said.

Bill Roberts: 377-6408, Twitter: @IDS_BillRoberts

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