POCATELLO, Idaho - Attending Idaho State University is now more expensive than it's ever been.
Students graduating this year are paying $3,172 each semester, while out of state students are paying $9,338 each semester in tuition. Compared to when these students started school four years ago, many as freshmen, they were paying $2,484 each semester while out of state students were paying $4,901 in tuition.
ISU student body president Matthew Bloxham said despite the rising costs, this past year the school saw the lowest increase in tuition within the past 20 years. However, he said this is still a growing problem.
"I believe this is the first year the amount of revenue coming in from tuition is higher than the revenue coming in from the state of Idaho," Bloxham said.
He has seen the growing struggles of students as they try to keep up with tuition costs over the past two years he has served as the ASISU president and has voiced this concern to state lawmakers.
"A huge majority of students who leave the university do so based on financial hardship and they leave in good academic standing. Although their GPA is good, they just can't afford the cost of education and as it's rising I think we're going to see those numbers increase," Bloxham added.
ISU president Arthur Vailas paid a visit to the state legislature this past week to address this growing need and said education funding is a nationwide problem.
"Idaho State does have the most financially challenged students nationally, and we're the top five universities in the country as a lot of our students come from eastern Idaho," Vailas said.
However, he said ISU is still one of the most affordable colleges in the country, ranking within the top 15 universities that has the lowest tuition and highest salaries earned by ISU graduates.
Vailas said he still lobbied lawmakers to fund more support for research and for creation of a more effective scholarship program for these students.
The total amount ISU is asking the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee adds up to $20,186,500 which hardly covers the school's overall operating costs.
Vailas said one of his top priorities is to find alternative resources to fund the expansive operating costs of the university to keep tuition from rising.
But, it all comes down to the hands of the university being tied, as they try to do what they can, until the state can fork over the money. At the same time, funding for education across the state (and nationwide) has been an ongoing struggle for lawmakers as well as they try and scrape the bottom of the barrel to find whatever they can that will go toward education.
But, there's hope, according to Vailas.
"I think now the legislature and the governor are going to try and help education. I think education is the top priority right now," Vailas said.
Bloxham added what needs to happen not only rests upon the state, but also the alumni.
"(They) need to really recognize what an impact their education had on their lives and their capacity to give back. We're the future of Idaho, we're the future of this country and having an educated population is crucial to developing the economy in the state of Idaho," Bloxham said.
Vailas added some good news saying the magnitude of tuition increases for ISU has had a decreasing margin over the past few years.