Students looking to attend one of Idaho’s four-year institutions of higher education next year will have to shell out a bit more to do so due to tuition increases approved by the Idaho State Board of Education last week.

The hikes continue a trend of students paying more for their education as a share of the total cost.  Data shows that while state appropriations for higher education have been up and down in the last decade, hikes in student fees have been consistent.

GOP Rep. Linden Bateman of Idaho Falls told Monday that students paying more for their college experience is only a product of a poor economy.  “The problem is that we have this bleak economy and we can’t ask taxpayers to come up with more,” Bateman said.  “The revenue is just not there.”

But Democratic Rep. Brian Cronin of Boise says the trend shows the state’s inability to commit to stable and adequate funding for colleges and universities.  “This latest tuition increase is a logical consequence of a decade-long disinvestment into higher education,” said Cronin. “I think it’s a significant problem.”

But shouldn’t those who use schools services pay for them?  Cronin says that an educated populace is good for the state and local communities.  “As a society, we have decided that’s something that benefits all of us and not just those who attend,” he explained.

Boise State University

Boise State University (BSU) asked for and received a 5 percent hike for tuition for undergrad tuition hikes, meaning those students will have to find an additional $266 for the 2011-2012 school year.  Tuition will jump from $5,300 this year to $5,566 next year.

Tuition at Boise State has risen steadily in the past decade and collectively students now pay about the same amount that the state does to fund education.

In 2001, the state appropriated $66 million for the school, about 75 percent of BSU’s total budget, and tuition made up $21.3 million, about 24 percent of the school’s budget.  In 2001, students paid $2,450 per year in tuition.

In 2011, the state appropriated $70.1 million for BSU, a total of 53 percent of the school’s budget.  Students paid $61 million, or about 47 percent of the school’s operating cost.

Lewis-Clark State College

Coming in with the lowest tuition for next year is Lewis-Clark State College (LCSC). Students at the school will pay $5,348 next year, up $350 from this year. The jump represents a 7 percent increase in tuition.

Like the other schools, tuition at LCSC in Lewiston has more than doubled in the last 10 years. In 2001, students at LCSC paid $2,360 in tuition for a full year.

And also like the other schools, students are paying a greater share of the total cost of college. In 2001, the state funded about 64 percent of LCSC, while student fees made up about 12 percent, with the rest coming from endowment funds. In 2011, however, the state’s share was just less than 50 percent, and student’s shouldered about 45 percent. About 5 percent of funds were derived from the normal endowment.

University of Idaho

With its approved 8.4 increase, the University of Idaho will become the most expensive public school for undergrads next year.  Students at the school will need an additional $454 next year, bringing the total yearly tuition to $5,856.  This year, students paid $5,402.

Like BSU, the University of Idaho has more than doubled its tuition for students since 2001, when the school charged $2,476 per academic year.

Idaho State University

A smaller tuition increase request brings Idaho State University (ISU) in as the second most-expensive public university in the state.  The school received a 7 percent increase, which will bring tuition next year to $5,796, up $380 from this year’s rate.

Through the last decade, tuition at ISU has more than doubled.  In 2001, students attending the Pocatello school paid $2,578 in tuition for the year.

Note: Cost-share data was not available for ISU or the University of Idaho by deadline.



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About The Author

Dustin Hurst serves as the Communication Director for the Idaho Freedom Foundation. He graduated from Boise State in 2009. His work has been featured by Fox News, Townhall, Public Sector Inc., the Daily Caller, Reason, Human Events, the Spokesman Review and more. He and his wonderful wife Julia have two cute kids. The family resides in Middleton.


  1. Ahh yes, the pricing of a college degree further and further out of the reach of the middle and lower class. Which makes me ask, how come I read about tuition increases and never about cutting costs?

  2. Find the bad math somewhere in this line “Students at the school will need an additional $454 next year, bringing the total yearly tuition to $5,586. This year, students paid $5,402.”

  3. If the educational associations and unions spent less time and money suing politicians and demanding repeat elections and more time concentrating on more efficient school administration we may not have numbers like this.

  4. […] tuition and fee increase was approved by the Idaho State Board of Education.  BSU has more than doubled tuition in the last decade. In 2001, students paid $2,450 per year for tuition and fees. In 2011, that cost has jumped to […]

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