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State Budget Could Mean Extra $18 Million For Higher Ed

The higher education budget in Idaho has fallen fast over the past four years, but it could be bouncing back.

Lawmakers approved a budget that will increase state support of public universities by more than $18 million.

After trying to find ways to save money without any layoffs, Idaho State University is glad to see the trend turning.

“Coming off of what has been four years of decreases and cutbacks, that’s certainly welcome news for all of us,? ISU Vice-President of Finance James Fletcher said.

Although it’s a step in the right direction, Fletcher said the increase will just begin to plug the financial hole that’s formed over the past few years.

“Our total state support has been cut by 26.7 percent. That’s a big number, so what we’ve been doing is limping along doing the best we can with cutbacks,? Fletcher said.

The increase could make a difference when it comes to tuition.

Every year the cost of higher education to students’ bank accounts gets steeper, but ISU said this year that increase could be extremely small.

“We are already going forward with the lowest proposed tuition increase in 15 years at Idaho State University and that is reflective of the beneficence we’re pleased to see coming from the legislature,? Fletcher said.

ISU is considering a 4.7 percent increase.

The legislature’s joint finance and appropriations committee has approved the budget, but it still needs to go before the House and Senate before it becomes official.

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