USHE Board of Regents adopts definition of affordability, approves average 1.9% tuition increase across Utah’s public colleges and universities

USHE institution tuition and fee adjustments informed by new affordability standards

The USHE Board of Regents adopted a definition of affordability on the first day of their two-day virtual meeting. This definition was used to inform the Board’s consideration of tuition and student fee adjustments requested by Utah’s public colleges and universities.

The USHE Regents adopted the following definition of affordability:

Affordability is the ability of a traditional full-time Utah student from a family of four to cover the cost of attendance at a USHE institution while living at home with financial aid, reasonable family savings, and the student contributing ten hours of weekly work earnings, without incurring student debt.

The definition of affordability was developed over the last three months based on work done by the Lumina Foundation and the Kem C. Gardner Institute by the Board appointed Affordability Task Force.

“It is more essential than ever that the USHE Board of Regents prioritize affordability for Utah students and look at institutional efficiencies in the wake of COVID-19,” said Harris H. Simmons, chair of the USHE Board of Regents. “Working with USHE staff, the Board of Regents developed and adopted a definition of affordability which informed our careful consideration and approval of modest tuition and student fee increases for Utah’s public colleges and universities. Each institution will have the option to delay those increases as necessary for maximum flexibility in this uncertain time, because of an approved exception to Regent policy.”

Each year following the legislative session, the Board of Regents determines the amount of additional tuition necessary to meet the operating budget needs and help fulfill the missions of Utah’s public colleges and universities. The adjustments adopted by the Board for academic year 2020-21 are the lowest increase in tuition and student fees since 1997.

Each USHE president presented on an institution-specific request, taking into account salary and health premium increases for faculty and staff which were funded 75% with state funds, thereby requiring the other 25% ($10.5m) to be funded by USHE institutional tuition.

InstitutionDollars*Percent
University of Utah**$1652.00% 
Utah State University$1832.80%
Utah State University – Eastern, Moab, Blanding$1233.50%
Weber State University$1002.00%
Southern Utah University$ 00.00%
Snow College$762.25%
Dixie State University$1423.00%
Utah Valley University***$701.38%
Salt Lake Community College$521.50%
USHE Average Tuition Increases1.87%

*For an in-state undergraduate student taking 15 credits per semester for two semesters
**University of Utah: delayed implementation until Spring 2021
***Utah Valley University: delayed implementation until Fall 2020

In addition to tuition increases, several institutions also proposed adjustments to mandatory student fees, which were approved by the Board for 2020-21. The average mandatory student fee increase across the USHE system is 1.3%.

The date which these adjustments will go into effect varies by institution. The Board voted to allow institutions flexibility to defer the adjustments as necessary, by approving an exception to Regent Policy R510.

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