Education

Idaho university tuition increases held to 3 percent or less for 2017

Holding the line on tuition increases

Arthur Vailas, ISU president, says a lock on tuition could lead to more students entering college.
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Arthur Vailas, ISU president, says a lock on tuition could lead to more students entering college.

The message couldn’t have been more clear: Keep tuition growth at Idaho’s four-year schools as low as possible.

Idaho’s State Board of Education on Wednesday held the increases to no more than 3 percent, a hike smaller than it allowed for 2015-16.

“The board wanted to control the cost of education to the student and 3 percent was kind of our threshold,” said Richard Westerberg, a board member who oversees the committee that looks at tuition.

The decision will leave schools with some “stretch budgets,” he said. “They are really going to have to work to make this work.”

Boise State and the University of Idaho brought proposed increases of 3.7 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively, to the board, and both left with 3 percent.

Idaho State University sought a 2.5 percent increase and Lewis-Clark State College asked for a 2 percent increase. Those were approved.

Pressure to lower tuition came after years when Idaho colleges sought to recoup money from sliding support in state revenue by upping tuition.

Most of the increase will go to a 3 percent pay raise for about half the college and university employees not covered by the money legislators appropriated to give state employees a 3 percent pay raise.

Idaho’s education board began putting a heavy hand on tuition growth last year, saying schools needed to be affordable to draw more students and help improve the number of residents with degrees in Idaho.

The board also wanted to acknowledge the Legislature’s increased state funding — up 8 percent for the four-year institutions for next year – and not try to hit up students for a lot more money at the same time, Westerberg said.

What students will pay in tuition, fees next school year

▪  Boise State University: $7,080

▪  Idaho State University: $6,956

▪  University of Idaho: $7,232

▪  Lewis-Clark State College: $6,120.

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