| 03.20.2018

Tuition increase still unclear


University of Idaho administrators announced they will ask the Idaho State Board of Education for up to a 6 percent increase for undergraduate tuition for the 2013-2014 academic year.
Keith Ickes, UI executive director of planning and budget, said 6 percent is the most the university could ask for now that they have released an official proposal.
“We proposed 6 percent because when we send out this proposal, that sets the highest value we can ask for,” Ickes said. “Once we make this announcement to campus we can’t then find out that things have changed or that the board made a change and then come back later and say ‘whoops, we’re going to make it higher.'”
The university is required by the state board to release an official tuition proposal prior to the April state board meeting to set fees for all universities in the state, Ickes said.
This is the first year Idaho administrators have not known exactly how much they will ask for at the meeting. When the proposal was made public the week before spring break, the Idaho Legislature had yet to decide how much money they would designate for higher education funding.
“The reason we did that this year as opposed to a specific target was because things were unsettled,” Ickes said. “The legislature hadn’t made a decision about higher education funding.”
The legislature settled on $3 million shortly after the proposal was released, but the state board still has the ability to determine how that funding is distributed among Idaho’s higher education institutions. UI is hoping to receive around $1.6 million from the state in order to reduce the proposed tuition increase.
“Assuming all goes well, you’re likely to see a reduction in that 6 percent,” Ickes said. “It was the president’s hope to do less than that this year, but he and I just felt there were too many uncertainties and we needed to make sure we had the room if things went bad … we had the room to not create problems for us next year.”
ASUI President Hannah Davis worked to make sure the student activity portion of the annual tuition and fees increased as little as possible. Regardless of the tuition increase, there will be less than a 1 percent increase in the student activity fee, which will increase the fee to about $1,073.80 — roughly an $8 increase per student.
Part of the reason Davis and Vice President Nick Tunison were able to keep the increase in the fee low was by reallocating $2 per student to other departments.
Last year, there was a zero percent increase in the student activity fee and a 6.1 percent increase in tuition.
Ickes said the goal this year is to reduce the proposed increase to 4 percent.
“The 6 percent really was designed to say that if all of this got messed up and say that $1.6 million never came … could we cover that with tuition?” Ickes said.
Ickes said it is unclear how the state board will distribute the money, which could cause financial issues for the university.
“$1.6 million is how much we were hoping to get. If we get more than that that’s great, but if we get less than that then we will have some financial issues that we will have to address,” Ickes said.
There will be an open forum at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday in the Idaho Commons Horizon room for UI students to learn about where their tuition dollars are going within the university and how tuition increases could affect them.
Ickes said he anticipates the board will have made a decision by Thursday and they will be able to provide a more definite answer for tuition increase.
Davis said it is disappointing for many students to see an increase, but it’s a price she’s willing to pay.
“I personally don’t mind paying a little more to make sure I have the faculty I want and the resources I want while I’m at my university, but on that aspect I know that isn’t the most satisfying thing to see for all students,” Davis said. “We’re just trying to make sure we can keep the university at the level that it is without putting too much pressure on students’ pockets.”
Kaitlyn Krasselt can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu

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