The head of Boise State University says state support has lagged behind the surge in enrollment in recent years.
BSU President Bob Kustra Wednesday told lawmakers the school needs to add at least 63 new faculty positions -- especially if Idaho is going to meet its goal to graduate more people from college.
Kustra says the student-to-faculty ratio is above average for a school of Boise State's size. And, he says, students sometimes experience course “bottlenecks.”
“There is certainly an issue when it comes to the time it takes a student to graduate," Kustra says. "We do hear from students occasionally who say, ‘Well I just couldn’t get into this calc course and this calc course is absolutely required for my major in chemistry’ or whatever it might be.”
Kustra also told lawmakers his university gets nearly 40 percent less in per-student funding than the University of Idaho. Kustra says less than one-fifth of the Boise State budget comes from the state, while the U of I gets nearly 30 percent of its budget from the Legislature. Kustra calls the gap an “incredible gulf”.
“We’re running out of reasons to explain away what may be the greatest funding disparity in the history of Idaho public higher education - the under funding of our state’s largest and top degree-producing university," Kustra says.
Kustra also told lawmakers that state funding for Boise State remains less than it was in 2007. Meanwhile, enrollment at the university has gone up 18 percent in the last eight years.
Besides Boise State's need for more faculty, the University of Idaho and Idaho State University have also asked for more faculty positions. And this week, the president of the University of Idaho offered to support a tuition freeze if the legislature funds a pay raise for faculty and staff.
The state of Idaho is trying to have 60 percent of young Idahoans (age 25-34) with a college degree or certificate by 2020.
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