Kustra Endorses Examining Tax Exemptions, Differential Tuition


Boise State president Bob Kustra offered three ideas for saving higher ed this morning at the AP legislative preview, starting with taking a look at special interest tax exemptions that for years have carved out little gaps in the state's ability to collect taxes.

It's an idea that legislative Democrats also endorsed earlier in the day, but that has gotten very little traction in recent legislative sessions.

Kustra and University of Idaho President Duane Nellis, suggested that universities are leaning less and less on state budgets and more and more on tuition and fees to fund their operations. Boise State's budget is now only 22 percent state funding, according to Kustra and the percentage of a student's education paid by tuition has risen from 24 percent to 43 percent since 2001.

Kustra also suggested implementing differential tuition, charging different amounts based on the cost of various academic programs. And he said that law makers in all 50 states should be aware that as they slash higher ed they are jeopardizing the nation's ranking in global competitiveness.