Kustra: Nothing wrong with increasing tuition

Tuition increases aren’t “freezing” prospective students out of Idaho colleges,
President Bob Kustra told legislative budget-writers Monday.

State funding for BSU has remained flat for more than a decade, forcing the
university to shift a greater share of the budget to student tuition and fees. Idaho’s
tuition remains low, relative to other Western states – but the state needs to keep
tracking its tuition costs against its neighbors.

“There’s nothing wrong with Idaho colleges and universities increasing tuition these
days,” Kustra told Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee members.

In 2001-02, BSU received $73.6 million in general fund money from the state,
accounting for 33 percent of the university’s budget. In 2012-13, the general fund
appropriation was $74.1 million, or 18 percent of BSU’s budget.

Student demographics: anecdotes from two campuses

BSU’s student demographic has changed in the past decade. Fewer BSU students are
older, “non-traditional” students. Now, 85 percent of BSU’s students come straight
from high school, and 95 percent are enrolled full-time. As a result, BSU is becoming
less of a commuter school — which makes for a busier campus. Said Kustra: “I
would argue that’s a very good thing.”

Meanwhile, Idaho State University is ramping up its online class offerings, to
accommodate a student body whose average age is 26. Older students need more
flexibility in scheduling classes. In 2011-12, ISU students took 36,461 credit hours
online, President Arthur Vailas told JFAC; in 2009-10, that figure was 24,093.

(Disclosure: Idaho Education News is housed under the Center for School Improvement
and Policy Studies in Boise State University’s College of Education. Its staff members
are BSU employees.)

Kevin Richert

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 "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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