Utah colleges, universities to see tuition increases

Posted at 9:44 PM, Mar 28, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-28 23:46:24-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Students at the state’s eight public colleges and universities will see a tuition increase next year ranging from 4 to 6 percent.

The increase was approved by the Board of Regents Friday.

All of the public institutions will see a minimum of a 4 percent increase. Three schools, Utah State University, Snow College, and the University of Utah, will have an additional 1.5 to 2 percent increase on top of the 4 percent.

Weber State University, Southern Utah University, Dixie State University, Utah Valley University and Salt Lake Community College will all see the 4 percent jump. The U of U will see a 5.8 percent increase. Utah State University will see a 5.5 percent increase and Snow College a 6 percent increase.

The University of Utah’s website lists their tuition costs for residents taking 13 credits in the fall and spring semesters in 2013-2014 as 6,708. A 5.8 percent increase would be about $389, which would bring the cost to about $7,097.

Those students tried to be understanding, but told FOX 13 News they were not happy about the spike.

“It’s not a total shock, but it is a little unsettling I’d say,” Student Nate Wambolt said.

“I feel like most of the decisions that are being made about the hike increase in tuition, I feel like the student voice hasn’t been accounted for,” Student Alee Holbrook said.

John Platt adds, “I think it’s fine, but I think they really need to think about what they’re prioritizing.”

Despite the sticker shock, those who approved the tuition hike said the focus was to keep it to a minimum. Dave Buhler, Commissioner of Utah Higher Education, said this increase is smaller than previous ones.

“The tuition increase that they approved today is the lowest increase since the year 2000,” he said.

He goes on to state that even with the increase, the overall tuition cost for Utah’s public colleges and universities remains one of the lowest in the nation.

“Nationally, we have the third lowest tuition for four-year schools, so that's where we want to keep it,” Buhler said. “We want to be at the bottom of the cost of public higher education.”

FOX 13 News spoke with one man who is paying tuition for two children at the University of Utah.

“My main concern is that the University of Utah remains the premier institution that it is, and to the extent that we have to pay for it - sometimes you have to pay for what you want,” Mike Bertelsen said.

Buhler said most of the additional tuition money is slated to go towards personnel costs.