SBOE to hold meeting this week, vote on tuition
The Idaho State Board of Education (SBOE) will hold meetings on the University of Idaho campus Wednesday and Thursday to set tuition and fees for Idaho’s public universities and weigh in on UI President Chuck Staben’s annual report.
Wednesday’s meeting begins at 9 a.m. where the bulk of the agenda is dedicated to setting next year’s tuition and fee rates for Idaho State University, Eastern Idaho Technical College, Lewis-Clark State College, Boise State University and UI.
Staben asked the SBOE for a 3.5 percent increase in resident undergraduate tuition and fees for the 2015-2016 academic year — the lowest request on record in recent years.
Staben will present to SBOE, and while he doesn’t know how the board will decide, he said he’s hopeful the board will approve UI’s request.
“We feel that we’ve got a good, solid proposal,” Staben said. “(And) that students have participated in the generation of that proposal.”
If approved, Staben said the increase would be primarily used to fund salary increases for university employees as mandated by the state legislature.
Staben said Trina Mahoney, budget director, and Nate Fisher, ASUI president, would accompany him during his presentation to the board.
Fisher said he is looking forward to the meeting because he believes the proposal will be an easy pass due to its modesty and focus on salary increases.
“I feel confident that the State Board will approve and accept a 3.5 percent tuition increase,” Fisher said. “This is the lowest increase to resident undergraduate tuition in the last 10 years and is one that I think students will find very reasonable. The majority of this increase will help compensate our faculty and staff members, something that is very much needed.”
Blake Youde, SBOE chief legislative affairs officer, said in a communication sent out Monday that an important component of Thursday’s agenda is UI’s progress report presented by Staben.
Staben said the report is a good opportunity to present ideas to the board that are most important to the university and to education in Idaho.
“We’ll talk about our key missions, which are research, teaching and engagement, and we’ll give some perspective on things we’re doing to increase enrollment at the University of Idaho,” Staben said. “An emphasis of the annual report will be how the University of Idaho helps students in Idaho, and regionally, access and afford a really high quality education.”
In keeping with the university’s goal to increase enrollment by 50 percent over the next several years, Staben said while access and affordability are imperative items on their own, they also contribute to UI’s enrollment plan.
“By access and affordability, I mean we want to students in the United States and in Idaho to be able to get a college education and to graduate with a high quality education that will enable their career, but will minimize the indebtedness that they must undertake to do that,” Staben said. “Those will be key points in the report.”
In addition to the annual report, Staben said Thursday’s agenda items are more “technical in nature.” He said other areas of interest for UI include a presentation about EPSCoR and an update about WWAMI, the region’s medical education program.
“We’ll talk about other achievements and events of the university in the research sphere,” he said.
Amber Emery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AmberNLyon