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High Enrollment At Idaho's Largest University Brings 'Bottleneck' Problem


The head of Idaho's largest university said state support has lagged behind the surge in enrollment in recent years.

Boise State University president Bob Kustra Wednesday told lawmakers the school needs to add at least 63 new faculty positions -- especially if Idaho is going to meet its goal to graduate more people from college.

Kustra said the student to faculty ratio is above average for a school of BSU's size and students sometimes experience course “bottlenecks.”

“There is certainly an issue when it comes to the time it takes a student to graduate,” he said. “We do hear from students occasionally who say, ‘Well I just couldn’t get into this calc course and this calc course is absolutely required for my major in chemistry’ or whatever it might be.”

The University of Idaho and Idaho State University have also asked for more faculty positions. And this week, the president of the University of Idaho offered to support a tuition freeze if the legislature funds a pay raise for faculty and staff.

The state of Idaho is trying to have 60 percent of young Idahoans with a college degree or certificate by 2020.

BSU saw huge gains in enrollment during the recession. Since 2007, the school has grown 18 percent, to more than 22,000 full and part-time students. It’s the fastest growing university in the state by student headcount.