State Board makes tuition freeze official

Calling the move a linchpin in college access and affordability, the State Board of Education Monday approved a second consecutive year of tuition freezes at Idaho’s four-year schools.

The 2021-22 freeze covers in-state, undergraduate students.

Next year’s tuition and fees break down as follows: University of Idaho, $8,340 (including a $36 increase in student activity fees); Boise State University, $8,068; Idaho State University, $7,872; Lewis-Clark State College, $6,982.

The four schools will also more or less hold the line on non-resident fees and graduate school fees. Only Idaho State approved increases in these categories — and vice president for finance and business affairs Glen Nelson sounded a warning. He said Idaho State’s non-resident and graduate tuition is nearing the “market price,” which could affect recruiting.

“We have to be very cognizant of how much we increase in those areas,” he said.

Boise State opted to freeze nonresident and graduate fees, in the interest of keeping students on campus and, ultimately, protecting the university’s overall bottom line.

“Increasing those rates not only creates struggles for them, it can also affect enrollment,” said Ken Kline, Boise State’s associate vice president for budget and planning.

Here’s how these fees break down:

  • Graduate school: Idaho State, $10,324 (a $398 increase); U of I, $9,912 (a $36 increase); Boise State, $9,638; Lewis-Clark, $9,000.
  • Nonresident fees: U of I, $25,418; Idaho State, $25,326 (an $832 increase); Boise State, $22,452; Lewis-Clark, $13,256.

Monday’s tuition freeze vote was a bit of a formality.

On April 14, the State Board told the four-year schools to budget for a second year of freezes for in-state undergrads.

The board and the presidents agreed on the freeze, not knowing exactly what the Legislature would do to the state higher education budget. Lawmakers ultimately cut more than $2 million from Gov. Brad Little’s higher education budget request — after conservatives spent much of the marathon 2021 session decrying social justice spending on the state’s college campuses. That budget cuts $1.5 million from Boise State’s budget and $500,000 apiece from The U of I and Idaho State. Lewis-Clark, meanwhile, will receive a $400,000 increase designed to head off a tuition increase.

The Legislature passed this budget in early May, and Little signed it into law on May 10.

Kevin Richert

About Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on KIVI 6 On Your Side; "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television; and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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