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College faces 9 percent tuition hike

USU-College of Eastern Utah will remain the lowest cost alternative among state-supported higher education institutions next year, but it's still going to be more expensive for students than it is this year.

The State Board of Regents last week approved a 9 percent tuition hike for the school. That will add $204 to the annual cost of attending the school full-time, bringing the tab to $2,474. System-wide, the average total tuition increase for an undergraduate Utah resident is about 7.5 percent in annual tuition for 15 credit hours.

"Since 2008, Utah's colleges and universities have faced yearly budget cuts now totaling roughly 14%," said Commissioner of Higher Education William Sederburg. "For years our institutions have had to consistently do more with less, now in order to protect access and quality it is necessary that some of the costs will have to be passed along to students in the form of higher tuition." Commissioner Sederburg noted, however, that tuition increases would have been much higher if the Legislature had approved an original 7 percent cut rather than the 2.5 percent they decided on earlier this month.

"State support for our colleges and universities has been steadily declining over recent years," noted Board of Regents Chair David Jordan. "We need to reverse that trend so that all of our institutions remain affordable, particularly at the community college level. We can't continue to cover increasing costs with tuition hikes." When compared to institutions in surrounding states, on average, tuition is lower at Utah's colleges and universities.

Tuition at USHE institutions is approved in two tiers: Tier I tuition is an increase applied equally system-wide to assist institutions in covering various needs common to all institutions. The second tier comes as a recommendation from institution presidents only after discussion with Boards of Trustees and student hearings, as a means of covering institutional priorities and initiatives. The State Board of Regents must also approve Tier II tuition.

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