While Utah is known for breathtaking national parks, with mountains, canyons and expansive desserts, it’s also a destination for education.
The Southwestern state boasts a diverse list of postsecondary schools – from top-ranking public universities to world-renowned private schools – and some of the country’s best online programs.
Editorial Listing ShortCode:
Tuition is surprisingly low, and the state offers financial aid programs to help even further. Indeed, Utah is committed to providing residents affordable, convenient access to excellent higher education opportunities.
Overview of Higher Education in Utah
In Utah there are 30 degree-granting institutions, according to a 2018-2019 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Of these, 8 are public, 11 are private non-profit and 11 are private for-profit.
The Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) is governed by the Utah Board of Higher Education and is comprised of 8 public colleges and universities, including University of Utah and Utah State University- and 8 technical colleges including Salt Lake Community College and more. The state is also home to well-known private schools Brigham Young University and Westminster College.
Editorial Listing ShortCode:
Tuition rates in Utah are among the lowest in the country. According to the 2018 data from the NCES residents pay, on average, just $6731 to attend one of the state’s 4-year intuitions, while non-residents pay around $21,557. That’s $2,481 below the national average for those in state, and $4,825 below for those out of state.
Residents who are unable to find their chosen major within Utah, can still take advantage of the state’s low tuition rates, thanks to the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB). Through the SREB, Utahans can enroll in out-of-state programs offered in the other 15 participating states while paying in-state rates.
About Online Colleges in Utah
Online colleges allow students to complete coursework at their convenience, working around a family, career or other responsibilities, and without regard for their location.
As of 2018, according to a report by the NCES, 40.2% of college students in Utah were enrolled exclusively in online courses – far more than in most states. Another 15.5% were enrolled in a combination of online and on-campus courses. Those numbers have continued to rise as schools have increased their online offerings.
In 2014 the University of Utah developed the “UOnline Initiative” with the goal of providing greater scheduling flexibility to help more students graduate on time. The initiative aimed to provide several new fully online and hybrid programs. Today, the University of Utah’s online program is one of the most impressive around and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in popular fields like nursing, social work, business and more.
Another impressive online program can be found at Utah State University (USU), which was ranked among U.S. News and World Reports’ Best Online Bachelor’s Programs, Best Online Master’s in Education Programs, and Best Online MBA Programs. USU’s digital education program began in 1995, and today they offer over 60 online degrees and certification programs to students in nearly all 50 states.
At the community college level, Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) offers a particularly robust online program, with more than 200 courses in 50 academic disciplines. Online students can access 24/7 tech support, free online tutoring and dedicated coaching and advising. Nearly 10,000 students a semester take advantage of SLCC’s online campus.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Utah
If you’d like to earn a degree in Utah, the first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This can give you access to federal, state and even some private financial aid. You can access the FAFSA starting on October 1 of the year before you plan to attend college. It’s important to complete it as early as possible, since most funds are awarded on a first come, first served basis.
The FAFSA application will require you to answer questions about your finances and the finances of your parents (unless you are considered “independent”). The answers you provide will be used to determine how much need-based aid is offered to you. The best type of financial aid is through grants and scholarships, which never have to be paid back.
The state of Utah offers a number of assistance programs to its residents, including:
- H. Bell Education Scholarship – Aimed at recruiting first-generation students into teaching, especially in high-need fields; May be for up to the cost of tuition, fees and books and may be for up to four years
- Higher Education Success Stipend – For undergraduates with financial need
- New Century Scholarship – For students who earn an associate degree in high school from an institution within the USHE or complete a specific math and science curriculum
- Public Safety Officer Program (PSOCAR) – Reimburses up to half of tuition and fees (up to $5000 per year) for students enrolled in criminal justice related programs at a USHE institution
- Regents’ Scholarship – For high school seniors who have taken the required courses, have a GPA of 3.3 or higher and ACT score of 22 or higher
- Utah Promise Scholarship – For recent high school graduates and adult learners at Utah’s public universities and technical colleges; Covers tuition up to two years
- Veterans Tuition Gap Program – Covers tuition, fees, and books for veterans who have exhausted other benefits
On top of the federal and state aid options, students can find more “free money for college” by using scholarship search sites like Fastweb.com.
Editorial Listing ShortCode:
These scholarships may be need or merit-based, or awarded based on geographic location, chosen major, athletic accomplishments, a winning essay or other unique factors. Here are some private scholarships open to Utah students:
|Scholarship Name||Scholarship amount|
|Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Scholarship||(8) $5500 for Engineering
(8) $1,000 for Technical
|The Jiffy Lube “What Drives You?” Scholarship Program||(1) $6500
|The Ruth S. Clayton Memorial Nursing Scholarship Fund||Several awards up to $4000|
|Utah Jump$tart Coalition Financial Literacy Scholarship||(6) $1250|
Most schools offer additional aid – both merit-based and need-based – to admitted students. Be sure to check with the financial aid office at the college or university you have chosen.
List of Online Colleges in Utah
|Online Colleges in Texas||Annual Tuition||Application Fee|
|Brigham Young University||$5,300||$35|
|Southern Utah University||$6,530||$50|
|Utah State University||$7,426||$50|
|Weber State University||$5,523||$30|
|Western Governors University||$6,070||$65|
Clearly, Utah has more to offer than landscapes! The state is home to affordable, award-winning colleges and universities, with online and on-campus opportunities to help launch you into a successful career.