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The Bronco Advocacy Network consists of engaged students, alumni, parents and industry partners from Boise and around the state of Idaho who are vested in the success of Boise State University and willing to play a part in persuading decision-makers that the university has a statewide impact far beyond the Treasure Valley.
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Bronco Advocacy News — September 2017
We know that many alumni and friends of Boise State University want to do all they can to help best position the university for success long into the future. That is why we want to take a moment to point to the work that has been done all summer by a group of dedicated leaders and educators on the Higher Education Task Force.
Gov. Butch Otter created the task force in February to improve higher education in Idaho, and it has been led by two hard-working Idahoans who care deeply about education in this state: longtime tech business leader Bob Lokken and former West Ada School District Superintendent and current State Board of Education President Linda Clark (a fellow Boise State alumna).
The group took aim at ways to encourage more Idaho high school graduates to earn a college degree or certificate, has examined how to make sure higher education is affordable and accessible here and worked for solutions that would help improve the skills and competencies of our college graduates as they enter the workforce.
As you know, Boise State has become Idaho’s largest institution of higher education, with Idaho’s largest graduate school. More than 46 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded each year by Idaho public universities are conferred at the two commencement ceremonies — they had to move the spring event outside to the Blue Turf of Albertsons Stadium this past year.
In fact, State Board numbers now show that about one out of every three students served by Idaho’s entire public higher education system is enrolled at Boise State — and about three out of four of our graduates stay in Idaho to live, work and raise their families.
But since Boise State grew rapidly at a time when the state struggled to adequately fund and make equitable the higher education formula, these students get far less state support than their peers who choose other in-state institutions. That imbalance impedes the university’s ability to respond to growth, implement new ideas and serve our local and regional economy.
As efficient and effective as Boise State has been, the gap widens nearly every year. And the truth is that Idaho students should all enjoy the same amount of support. A healthy and fair budget could support our students, as well as provide incentives for university leaders to make the best decisions they can for their students. The task force has been discussing “outcomes-based funding,” which would reward universities for growing graduate numbers and other strategic changes — a change that would positively affect the bottom line at Boise State.
Solving this problem in a fair and equitable way for all students in Idaho is not an easy challenge, and you’re invited to join us in thanking Dr. Clark, Mr. Lokken, President Bob Kustra and his peers, the State Board and the other devoted Idahoans who dedicated the past several months toward leading Idaho into a brighter future for higher education. You can see the full list of members here.
The task force is making its recommendations to the governor this month, and then the legislative process will begin — so there will be plenty of opportunities to have your voice heard as these proposals are discussed. Check back into this site to stay informed and engaged along the way.