Students may need to budget an extra few hundred dollars for tuition this upcoming year if the State Board of Education signs the newly proposed increases into action. The increase would affect Boise State as well as Idaho State University, University of Idaho and Lewis and Clark State College.
Over the last two decades, the college tuition and fee prices in Idaho have steadily risen each year. On the up side, the proposed amounts from ISU, U of I and LCSC are lower than they have been in years, and while Boise State is lower than last year’s request, it is still the most significant amount of the four universities with a requested increase of $384.00—a 6.1 percent raise from this past school year’s tuition fee of $6,292.00.
“It depends on what they’re using it for,” Boise local and Boise State freshman Katelyn Johnson said.
The top reason cited for the requested increase is declining enrollment resulting in decreased tuition dollars for the university, along with increasing faculty-hiring needs.
Boise State’s enrollment is down roughly 3 percent since fall of 2012. Still, the lingering problem is recovering from the significant and unexpected increase in student enrollment they saw a few years back. Currently, Boise State is dealing with shortages in fields like chemistry and biology which when unavailable can set students back an entire semester and in some cases more.
“If there actually isn’t enough staff, then I can understand that, because you have to keep a college running,” freshman Jake Soares, a California native who attends Boise State, said. “But you’d think you would need more people before you have more staff.”
Another reason for the increase requested is the university needs funds to follow through with the pay increases already approved by the legislature. However, many board members worry that if the proposal is approved they run the risk of exceeding some students’ budgets.
“If they raise it then I have to pay more money—more money that I don’t have. And if people don’t get enough financial aid, then that extra $200-300 is going to make a difference,” Johnson said.
“I think raising the price would be a bad choice. I think that people get deterred by prices for college,” said India Humphreys, who transferred to Boise State from BYU-Idaho in 2012.
Whilst acknowledging the funding comes from different places, Humphreys said, “I’m not for that at all. My tuition here has been insanely more expensive than BYU and I don’t think the education is any different.”
Soares, who is from northern California, is of the opinion that increasing tuition rates may not actually do much to help the situation, but instead worsen it.
“One of the major factors in me deciding where I wanted to go was the cheapest college, so if you raise it then you’re going to get people not wanting to go. So it’s almost contradicting itself,” Soares said.
While many students may remain unaffected by tuition increases, both Soares and Johnson admitted low tuition costs contributed heavily to selecting what college to attend, and if prices continue to raise, then Boise State could lose one of their most attractive attributes.
“Tuition was low—a lot cheaper than a lot of the schools in California, but if they raise it and it’s a significant amount raised, then I would rather just transfer back over there, because well, lets face it, I’d rather go somewhere that also has weather appeal,” Soares said.
Even still, Idaho’s average four-year university tuition price remains on the lower end of the spectrum of American universities. The lowest is Wyoming who currently stands at a very affordable $4,404 and the highest is Arizona at a more substantial $10,027.
The State Board of Education will be holding a meeting at the University of Idaho later this this month to negotiate and decide on whether or not the tuition and fee increase proposals will be approved.