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Boise State Pres. Tromp pitches budget to legislature for rural education program and new faculty positions

Photo by Mackenzie Hudson

Boise State University president Dr. Marlene Tromp made her annual budget presentation before the Idaho Legislature’s Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) on Tuesday, where she pitched new line items for Boise State that would create 10 new positions and further build a program for rural education.

The program is the university’s Community Impact Program (CIP), which helps students in rural communities complete their education while living in their hometown.

Despite the 50% nationwide decline in rural college enrollment since the start of the pandemic, Boise State enrollment among participating rural communities has seen increases ranging from 26% to 50% following the launch of CIP.

Another one of Tromp’s budget goals is to permanently fund 10 full-time positions to employ more Idahoans. Four of those positions will employ new career-readiness counselors.

“Our aim at Boise State University is simple, to help our students develop their own minds, their own talents, to make their own choices and to find their own paths,” Tromp said in her presentation.

About $1.5 million of Boise State’s new budget will also go towards the university’s health science programs, with the intent of making them more competitive in the industry according to President Tromp. 

In 2021, Boise State faced a $1.5 million budget cut over what some conservative legislators deemed “wasteful spending” on diversity, equity and inclusion programs. Tromp was able to use money saved during the pandemic to cover the cut without having to deal with a dramatic impact on student programs.

This year, questions following Tromp’s presentation once again focused on the university’s actions to reduce spending on social justice programs.

Rep. Ron Nate (R-Rexburg) referred to the addition of Boise State’s Anti-Racism Center since the last legislative session, claiming that this spending had not been reduced as requested by the JFAC.

“The services we provide to students are the services they’ve requested,” Tromp said. “I would say we have evolved our programming…But that doesn’t mean we have reduced the offerings that are available to our students.”

Tromp was also asked about Boise State’s rise in out-of-state enrollment numbers, and how those numbers will impact the cost of tuition.

For the first time in Boise State’s history, the fall 2021 enrollment numbers showed most of the first-year students were from out-of-state. 

According to Tromp, the university responded by making more scholarships available for in-state students and adding to the application requirements for those coming from out-of-state. 

“Because out-of-state students pay more for their education, it actually helps support our Idaho students,” Tromp said in the meeting.

Idaho State Capitol Building
[Photo of the Idaho State Capitol Building]
Photo by Mackenzie Hudson | The Arbiter
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