June 8, 2017
Idahoans have long valued public higher education, recognizing its importance to the economy and social fabric of the entire state. In fact, the territorial legislature founded the University of Idaho in 1889, before Idaho was admitted as a state. Over the past three decades, there has been a departure from the state’s historic commitment to higher education, as funding from the legislature has declined relative to the costs of providing education.
The result has been steeply rising tuition and fees, a growing debt load for many students, and higher barriers to attending college for middle- and low-income Idahoans. This is a threat to Idaho’s economy at a time when employers are demanding a more educated workforce, and when workers with a college degree command far higher salaries than those with just a high school diploma.
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