BSU president asks for equality in state funding

Posted at 12:00 PM, Jan 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-25 19:22:08-05

Boise State President Dr. Bob Kustra stood before JFAC Monday morning to present the university's accomplishments and again ask for equitable funding compared to other state universities.

It's a new year, but a similar message from Kustra. Students at BSU pay more for college because the state funds the university less per student than Idaho State University or the University of Idaho.

"There's one constant I can always count on," Kustra told the panel of lawmakers. "We're going to be dead last when it comes to funding per student given to us by the state government."

In his presentation, Kustra said the average BSU graduate receives $22,154 from the state. He compared that to $39,000 per graduate at ISU, and $31,000 per graduate from UI. He argues higher cost at BSU either restricts access to higher education of local students or places a higher financial burden on gradautes.

"You're either going to be picking up more of the tab yourself as a parent or the student is going to walk away with a heck of a lot more debt than a student at another public university," he said. "I don't think that's fair. I don't think that's equitable."

Kustra also spoke on public policy issues. Specifically, he supported Governor C. L. "Butch" Otter's proposal of a tuition lock for four year colleges. JFAC co-chair Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, has expressed concerns over the state promising the potentially expensive project. Dr. Kustra pointed to his own experience to promote the plan.

"One of our public universities did it in Illinois," he said. "It was probably the most attractive marketing tool if nothing else that any university I've seen has ever used."

Kustra also announced a new classification for the university. The Carnegie Foundation has awarded BSU with the recognition as a doctoral research institution. Dr. Kustra said this raises the prominence of the university in the research field and could attract future students and programs.