Interim UI President Don Burnett told Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee members that pay for the Moscow school's faculty has fallen compared to peer institutions.
In 2007, for instance, compensation at the University of Idaho was estimated at 92 percent that of schools elsewhere.
That figure is forecast to fall to 84 percent this year, Burnett said.
The UI must replace 14 percent of its workforce annually.
Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter hasn't recommended a pay hike for state workers.
But the Legislature's 18-member compensation committee recommended the 2 percent boost earlier this year, to cost $11 million.