Boise State joins sister institutions in plan to hold the line on tuition and spending

The four Idaho public university presidents joined together this week to say they would collectively freeze undergraduate in-state tuition for next year.

At Boise State, this means Idaho undergraduates will continue to pay $4,034 per semester for the 2020-21 school year.

“Boise State is committed to ensuring that all Idaho students who want to pursue their higher education goals can access world-class educational opportunities here,” said Dr. Marlene Tromp, Boise State president.

The decision drew immediate praise from the State Board of Education and Gov. Brad Little.

Dr. Tromp said that she intends to work with the university and community college presidents to find real and significant opportunities for efficiencies, scalability and creative ways to solve our problems together. Idaho has the eighth-lowest in-state tuition in the country, but that affordability can be threatened by decreases in the state’s overall financial support of the public institutions and increases in costs around technology, compliance, health care, cost of living and more.

The tuition freeze follows Gov. Little’s call for all state agencies to prepare for potential 1 percent cuts for this fiscal year and ongoing 2 percent cuts starting next fiscal year — and Dr. Tromp said she wants everyone on campus to know this all means asking a famously innovative and efficient institution to be even more creative and financially deft.

“Boise State is the fastest-growing university in the state system and runs on the leanest state appropriation per student, so changes like this will be keenly felt by our community – students, staff and faculty alike,” Dr. Tromp said. “And I know and appreciate the personal and professional toll that cuts can have on us individually and collectively.

“Boise State has faced challenges before and has consistently and effectively tackled them in innovative and creative ways. Our nimbleness, flexibility and innovation haven’t just made us a resilient organization, they have driven our ability to transform our research enterprise and our student experience, and to advance our unique trajectory in Idaho and across the country.”

State Board President Debbie Critchfield made it clear that she will work with state leaders to rekindle investments in Idaho’s higher education.

“We are grateful the state is continuing to invest in higher education but when we have discussions about a long-term plan, we must acknowledge the fact that state funding hasn’t recovered to pre-recession levels while internal costs at the universities keep increasing,” Critchfield said.  “Board members and the presidents look forward to working with policy makers to develop strategies for a sustainable funding model that moves students and Idaho forward.”