Utah college students facing another tuition hike

Posted at 7:27 PM, Mar 29, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-30 00:18:45-04

SALT LAKE CITY - College students will have to pay more to attend Utah's public universities and colleges next year.

The Utah State Board of Regents has approved a tuition increase for resident undergraduate students, which will take effect for the 2013 summer term. Six of Utah's schools will see a 5 percent tuition hike, while Utah Valley University and Salt Lake Community College will face a 6 percent hike.

For students like University of Utah sophomore Sitasma Khatri, the extra expense will be costly.

"I plan to go to medical school, and so on top of undergraduate debt, I’ll have medical school debt," said Khatri, who plans on finding part-time work to help pay for her current costs. "And medical school, you have to take out loans because it's super expensive, regardless of where you go. So, that just keeps piling on and on and on. So, it will be years of debt, which I just dread."

As a result of the hike, tuition for resident undergrads at the U will increase from $6,201 to 6,511 for the 2013-2014 school year. However, according to Utah Commissioner of Higher Education Dave Buhler, it's less than what other states are charging.

"In most cases, we're below the average in tuition, and we want to keep it that way. We want to be a state that has high quality and affordable education," said Buhler. "Going back a few years we were getting in the range of a double-digit tuition increases, back in the time where we were getting budget cuts. So, you know, 5 percent is still more than we'd like, but it's a lot better than 8 or 9 or 10 percent.”

The budget passed by the state legislature allotted for a 6 percent increase for higher education, according to Buhler, but it still wasn't enough to cover mandatory costs. This year, for example, faculty and staff will receive a 1 percent salary increase, but only 75 percent of that is covered in the budget.

"We would rather not raise tuition, but that's just the reality. We need to make sure we're providing a high quality, higher education and the money needs to come from somewhere," Buhler said.

Compared to their other options, out of states students at the U believe the cost is worthwhile, especially if it is an investment in their future.

Penn State transfer Michael Scheidler said, "It's a lot less. Out-of-state for Pennsylvania was $34,000 a year, so in-state for Utah is $4,000 or 5,000 a year."

Institution 2012-2013 tuition Total percent increase Total dollar increase 2013-2014 tuition
University of Utah $6,201 5% $310 $6,511
Utah State University $5,021 5% $252 $5,273
Weber State University $3,961 5% $198 $4,159
Southern Utah University $4,960 5% $248 $5,208
Snow College $2,696 5% $134 $2,830
Dixie State University $3,468 5% $174 $3,642
Utah Valley University $4,122 6% $246 $4,368
Salt Lake Community College $2,759 6% $165 $2,924