PRESS ADVISORYContact: Diana Painter
E-mail: email@example.comFor Immediate ReleaseISU Students Protest Proposed 9.9 Percent Tuition Hike
POCATELLO-- Over 200 of students protested in front of the Idaho State University’s Administration Building holding signs and chanting to demonstrate their anger over the proposed 9.9 percent tuition increase ISU recently submitted to the State Board of Education.
While some of the students’ outrage is directed toward the ISU Administration for not including students in the decision to ask for 9.9 percent, most of the anger is directed at Boise. The proposal was made by ISU after Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter recommended cutting $138 million from the state public school budget, on top of the $68 million trimmed this past year. ISU will get $15 million dollars less next year. ISU President Arthur C. Vailas addressed the students at the beginning of the demonstration saying “Higher education leads to development. There is no doubt about that. (But on the cuts to public education) the debate has to be in the Idaho legislature.”
Students argue that the 9.9 percent increase is unfairly taxing students, many who have come back to school to escape the ailing Idaho economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics from last month, unemployment, nation-wide, is at 8.5 percent, but for people with even a bachelor’s degree it is 4.9 percent.
“We are the future taxpayers. To continue to tax students in this way is like eating your seed corn,” said Diana Painter, Outraged Student and organizer of the protest. “Idaho needs a governor who values public education.”
Students chanted “No more fee hikes, we’re already poor,” and held signs like “The Idaho legislature hijacked my education.”
The increase of 9.9 percent would be $247 per semester, or $495 per year more. Jessica Sharp, a student who attended the event says, “I have two kids. This increase is the same amount as two month’s rent, or more than a month’s worth of groceries. We just can’t do it.”
Tom Briggs, ISU graduate student and another organizer of the event said, “Governor Otter has decided to hand ISU a check for $15 million dollars less than what was promised.”
On March 11th the Associated Students of Idaho State University, the student government, is bussing [sic] 400 students to Boise for a rally on the capitol steps. They plan on lobbying the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee and the State Board of Education who begin work on the state’s budget next week.###