Lawmakers approved a budget Tuesday for Idaho's public universities that would increase state support by $18.1 million in 2013 while boosting the pay of state employees who for the most part, have not had a raise in four years.
The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee crafted a spending plan for higher education that includes $446.3 million in total funding in the next fiscal year, up from $396.7 million this year. The budget includes $227.9 million in state general funds, up 8.6 percent from this year, when state support for higher education was cut to its lowest level in more than a decade.
The increased budget for next year would bring state support for higher education up to levels set in 2006, when Idaho spent $228.9 million in general funding on Boise State University, Idaho State University, the University of Idaho and Lewis-Clark State College.
Legislative budget writers also increased state support for Idaho's three community colleges, to the tune of $4.7 million. The funding includes $1.4 million to cover requests from the colleges for building expenses. That should lessen the need for the colleges to hike tuition and fees for students, said Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson.