State Board to discuss higher education fees Wednesday

Not much of a surprise here, but another eventful day looms for Idaho higher education Wednesday.

The State Board of Education will meet at 4 p.m. to discuss 2021-22 tuition and fees for Boise State University, the University of Idaho, Idaho State University and Lewis-Clark State College.

The four schools froze tuition and fees for 2020-21. And earlier this session, Boise State, the U of I and Idaho State pledged to freeze tuition again in 2021-22, if legislators supported Gov. Brad Little’s higher ed budget request. (Lewis-Clark also said it would freeze tuition in 2021-22, after lawmakers shifted $409,000 from Boise State to Lewis-Clark to offset the need for a fee increase.)

But that was before last week, when the House overwhelmingly rejected a higher education budget bill that essentially mirrored Little’s recommendation. Conservatives are pushing for cuts in the higher ed budget — beyond the $409,000 shift from Boise State — in an attempt to rein in what they call a social justice agenda on campuses.

The Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee hasn’t drawn up a new higher education budget. But the committee hasn’t yet posted a Wednesday morning agenda. It’s unclear if the committee will meet — and, if so, take up higher education.

However, the House Education Committee is meeting Wednesday. And its one agenda item is the “Protecting Critical Thinking in Higher Education Act,” sponsored by Rep. Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls.

Check back at Idaho Education News for full coverage Wednesday.

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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