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Education has long been considered the path to professional and financial success. It’s true that higher levels of education correspond with lower unemployment and higher earnings. But, a combination of sharp tuition increases and comparatively slow wage growth has created an environment in which many U.S. college graduates struggle to pay off their debt. As the 2020 presidential election approaches, whether or not to make public colleges and universities tuition-free has become a hot topic in the Democratic primaries.

The Idaho State Board of Education voted to support Gov. Butch Otter’s recommendation to employee a higher education “CEO” Thursday afternoon, Jan. 18. The executive officer would be the state’s highest paid governmental employee not working at a higher education institution, making $200,000 plus benefits.

"Idaho is prosperous, positive, and poised for even better times ahead. Our population is growing fast. Our citizens are striving for a future with more opportunities and even brighter prospects"

North Idaho is a state standout for IDeal, the 529 college savings program. According to the organization’s recently released report, more Idahoans are saving for higher education with the program and have more money in IDeal college savings accounts than last year.

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” Fittingly, it was an educational writer (William Edward Hickson) who popularized this old proverb. The sentiment has a dual meaning when it comes to one of the recommendations of the governor’s Higher Education Task Force: the so-called “Adult Completer” scholarship.

There is some irony in the precarious position the Gem State has found itself in. Despite setting a goal in 2010 for 60 percent of Idaho’s young people under age 34 to attend postsecondary education, the Idaho Legislature then decided the way to encourage young people to attend college is to significantly inflate the tuition costs for those would-be students in the subsequent years that followed.