It wasn’t pretty or efficient, but the State Board of Education approved tuition and fee increases for several of Idaho’s colleges and universities.
The board devoted most of the work session at the University of Idaho to the discussion of higher education costs.
In the end, the State Board passed the following increases for 2018-19:
- Lewis-Clark State College: Increasing both resident and nonresident tuition and fees by 3.5 percent.
- University of Idaho: Increasing resident tuition and fees by 5 percent; increasing nonresident tuition and fees by 8 percent.
- Boise State University: Increasing both resident and nonresident tuition and fees by 5 percent.
- Idaho State University: Increasing resident tuition and fees by 3.5 percent; increasing nonresident tuition by 5 percent.
- Dual credit courses: Setting fees at $65 per credit, including online courses.
Perhaps they were battling some nerves meeting on the Vandals’ home turf, but State Board members struggled and faltered several times before finally approving tuition and fees for the University of Idaho.
At least five motions and countless amendments failed.
Board members mistakenly transposed digits in their motions and didn’t always make it clear whether they were combining tuition and fees.
Even the policymakers themselves appeared confused.
“Are we talking tuition and fees, or only tuition? You have to be clear,” board member Emma Atchley asked at one point.
The board actually voted down proposed, resident tuition and fee increases of 5 percent for University of Idaho two separate times before ultimately approving the increase. The board voted down different proposals to raise tuition and fees by 3.9 percent and 4.5 percent.
Some disagreement stemmed from striking the proper balance between resident and nonresident costs, as well as the weighting of tuition and fees and whether or not to treat cost increases at different universities the same.
Throughout, board members attempted to maintain a sense of humor.
At one point, State Board President Linda Clark asked board member Andy Scoggin, “Did you just pull that (motion) out of the air?”
Clark also joked that she lost track of how many motions failed, before suggesting the meeting would be one for historians to ponder long into the future.
“(Scoggin) will leave with the record for most motions on a single topic,” Clark deadpanned.
After finally approving increases late Wednesday afternoon, State Board member Richard Westerberg described the process as “awfully messy and a little ponderous.”
The State Board meeting was streamed live online, and continues Thursday with discussions of recommendations issued by Gov. Butch Otter’s higher education task force and an overview of the 2019 budget and scholarship costs.
MORE READING: Linda Clark responds to this article to say she is proud of the process and the State Board struck a fair balance.