Discount for dependents
An incentive granting dependents of University of Idaho employees half-price tuition will soon be in effect, following the approval of the Idaho State Board of Education last month.
In an effort to maintain and attract employees, the proposal was created and submitted to the SBOE by the University of Idaho faculty senate and will allow dependents of board appointed faculty and staff to receive a 50 percent tuition reduction.
“The faculty senate took it up in the voice that it’s a retention and recruitment practice for faculty and staff,” said Keith Ickes, executive director of planning and budget. “…that faculty might be more inclined to come when we make an offer if they understand that if they have children they might have the opportunity to go here at a reduced rate or that this might be an incentive for someone to stay as opposed to take an offer from another institution.”
The plan is based off a similar two-year pilot program that was launched at Boise State University in 2010.
“I think the feeling was that a number of our peer institutions may do something similar and so without this we were sort of not competitive in making our offers,” Ickes said.
Ickes said BSU has yet to give the first of two reports about the success of their program but said he understands they have had “a modest number of individuals take advantage of that.”
The policy approved for UI would apply only to the tuition for undergraduate or graduate academic credit courses. Additional fees such as out of state fees, the student activity fee and other special course fees are not waived by the policy.
Any board-appointed UI employee on regular appointment who works at least half-time is eligible for the tuition reduction benefit. A dependent may receive the benefit if the employee is eligible on the first day of the academic term. For employees with more than one dependent, only one may receive the benefit at any given time for a total of eight semesters per dependent.
“We will develop a set of procedures here very shortly, probably a form to go out to employees…a web announcement undoubtedly linked to a form. Employees will be asked to apply and the way the policy is written they must apply every semester,” Ickes said. “Right now we’re working on a plan to put it into effect by fall semester.”
Ickes said students will be required to go through the normal admissions process and must be financially dependent in order to be eligible for the tuition reduction.
“We’ll have to see how this plays out a little further but there may or may not have to be some sort of documentation to support that this student is a dependent,” Ickes said. “Of course students who are financially independent would not be eligible.”
Ickes said the impact the tuition reduction will have on the budget has yet to be seen.
“The real question in terms of total number of people that will take advantage of it, we really don’t know that. We’ve had a wide range of estimates for the number of people that will be involved,” Ickes said.
The faculty senate used a financial model that included 148 individuals when determining the potential impact of the proposal.
“With 148 individuals a lot of it depends on whether or not the state funds enrollment growth but it could be up to a $200,000 reduction in the budget,” Ickes said. “It’s a big budget, it’s 150 million dollars roughly but…our budgets are tight enough that yeah $200,000 makes a difference so it could be noticeable if we had that.”
Ickes said the university is working hard to try to make sure it can be in effect for fall semester.
“There will be an announcement going out shortly about a process to be followed,” Ickes said.
Kaitlyn Krasselt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.