Tuition, student fees, and college affordability: USHE Board of Regents to address college costs on March 26

Meeting to be held at Utah State University – Salt Lake

SALT LAKE CITY – The USHE Board of Regents will consider adopting a definition of college affordability at their meeting at Utah State University – Salt Lake on March 26, in line with the Board’s ongoing focus on college affordability as well as with Governor Gary R. Herbert’s budget proposal recommendations. The definition will inform the Board’s consideration of tuition and student fee adjustments requested by Utah’s public colleges and universities, which will happen later that day.

“Ensuring college is affordable for Utahns is of the utmost importance to the Board of Regents,” said Harris H. Simmons, chair of the USHE Board of Regents. “The Board has undertaken several initiatives to address this issue, including additional review and analysis of tuition adjustments, consideration of affordability for Utah students, and recommending a reprioritization of state scholarship dollars to address affordability for those students with a gap in their ability to pay for college. We appreciate the recent focus of the Governor and State Legislature on college affordability, and look forward to continuing to work together as we address this issue as a state.”

In January 2020, the USHE Board of Regents heard from the University of Utah Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute on their 18-month study analyzing various definitions of college affordability and student aid. Upon the release of that report, the Commissioner of Higher Education, Dave R. Woolstenhulme, assembled an Affordability Task Force to consider the recommendations of that report. The task force will report its findings and recommend a working definition of college affordability to the USHE Board of Regents for consideration on March 26.

At its March 26 meeting, the Board will also hear requests from Utah’s public colleges and universities to adjust tuition and student fees for the coming school year (2020-21), and will consider consolidating certain mandatory student fees into tuition, with no net increase in cost to students resulting from such a recategorization. The Board will individually consider these requests and provide the opportunity for public comment. The conversation on defining college affordability will inform these discussions. 

The USHE Board of Regents remains focused on keeping college affordable for Utah’s students, and has included affordability as a top priority in its 2025 strategic plan.

More details about the March 26 USHE Board of Regents meeting at Utah State University – Salt Lake will be available by March 23 at ushe.edu.

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Trisha Dugovic
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