Online Colleges in Utah
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. 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 36 degree-granting institutions, according to a 2015-2016 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Of these, 8 are public, 11 are private non-profit and 17 are private for-profit.
The Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) is comprised of 8 public colleges and universities, including University of Utah, Utah State University, Salt Lake Community College and more. The state is also home to well-known private schools Brigham Young University and Westminster College.
Tuition rates in Utah are among the lowest in the country. According to the 2016-2017 report by Collegeboard.org, residents pay, on average, just $6580 to attend one of the state’s 4-year intuitions, while non-residents pay around $19,840. That’s $3070 below the national average for those in state, and $5090 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 education allows students to complete coursework at their convenience, working around a family, career or other responsibilities, and without regard for their location.
As of 2012, according to a report by the NCES, 22% of college students in Utah were enrolled exclusively in online courses – nearly twice the national average. Another 12.2% 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, having been recognized by U.S. News and World Reports in their 2018 Best Online Graduate Education Programs, Best Online MBA Programs, Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. Their online undergraduate degree programs now include Economics; Family, Community and Human Development; Nursing; Parks Recreation and Tourism; Psychology; and Social Work.
Another impressive online program can be found at Utah State University (USU), which was ranked fifth among U.S. News and World Reports’ Best Online Bachelor’s Programs of 2018 and fifth in Best Online Graduate Education Programs of 2018. USU’s online program began in 1997, and today offers over 30 fully online degrees and programs to students in nearly all 50 states.
At the community college level, Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) offers a particularly robust online program, offering 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:
- 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
- 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
The state also offers reimbursement programs, such as the following:
- H. Bell Programs – Loans that cover full tuition and fees for teachers; Recipients are expected to prepay the loan through an equal length of work
- Public Safety Officer Program (PSOCAR) – Reimburses up to half of tuition and fees (up to $5000 per year) for students enrolled in criminal justice related programs at a USHE institution
On top of the federal and state aid options, students can find more “free money for college” by using scholarship search sites like Fastweb.com. These scholarships may be need or merit-based, or awarded based on geographic location, chosen major, athletic accomplishments, a winning essay or other unique factors.
Here are some private scholarships open to Utah students:
|Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Technical School Scholarship||For first year students at trade schools in member states; Must plan to pursue coal as a career path; One award per state||
|Utah Jump$tart Coalition Financial Literacy Scholarship||For high school seniors who produce creative, informative YouTube videos about keeping college debt to a minimum.||
|The Jiffy Lube “What Drives You?” Scholarship Program||Essay contest for teens ages 15-18 who are currently enrolled in a driver’s education program||
|The Ruth S. Clayton Memorial Nursing Scholarship Fund||For a female high school graduate who is accepted into a R.N. or R.N./B.S.N.; Must demonstrate financial need; Must be recommended by a Utah Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO) chapter or member||
Several awards up to $4000
|Stockton Powers||For high school seniors through age 25; Must maintain a GPA of 2.8 or higher||
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||Location||Annual Tuition||Accreditation||Application Fee|
|Southern Utah University||Cedar City, Utah||$6,530||Regional||$50|
|Utah State University||Logan, Utah||$7,426||Regional||$50|
|Weber State University||Ogden, Utah||$5,523||Regional||$30|
|Brigham Young University||Provo, Utah||$5,300||Regional||$35|
|Independence University||Salt Lake City, Utah||$16,968||National||$0|
|Western Governors University||Salt Lake City, Utah||$6,070||Regional||$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.