Solar panels on the roof of the J. Willard Marriott Library looking west with the Rice-Eccles Stadium and Salt Lake Valley in the background.

Truth in Tuition 2020

UPDATED: March 16, 2020

The University of Utah holds its annual Truth in Tuition hearing every year between the end of the Utah legislative session and the Board of Trustees approval of tuition rates for the upcoming school year in order to be transparent and to gather feedback from students to be shared with the Board of Trustees.

This year, those events coincide with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In an effort to keep our students, faculty, and staff safe, and to be in line with state limits on large gatherings, this year’s Truth in Tuition hearing will take place online.

The University of Utah is proposing increasing tuition by up to a maximum 2% for the 2020-21 school year—a smaller increase than each of the previous two years. The additional funding will support increased online course offerings, salaries for faculty and staff, sustainability efforts and updated technology. A student fee for print newspapers distributed on campus will be eliminated, offset by a small fee for improvements to the Union Building and a new campus communications app.

More information about the proposed tuition changes are outlined below. Graphic summaries that explain how tuition dollars are used can be found at the bottom of this page.

Students may submit questions and feedback to svpaa@utah.edu through 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, and the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs will respond to those inquiries. The Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on the proposed tuition increase at a meeting Friday, March 20.

The University of Utah is proposing increasing tuition by up to 2% for the 2020-21 school year—a smaller increase than each of the previous two years.

The additional funding will support increased online course offerings, sustainability efforts and updated technology. A student fee for print newspapers distributed on campus will be eliminated, offset by a small fee for improvements to the Union Building and a new campus communications app.

The Pac-12 and Big-10 tuition comparison

The Pac-12 and Big-10 tuition comparison (click to enlarge).

Overall, tuition is projected to go up approximately $83 per semester for a resident undergraduate student taking a full-time class load—15 credits. Full-time resident undergraduate tuition is currently $4,126.38 per semester. A tuition increase of 2% would raise that to $4,208.91.

“We’re sensitive to concerns about rising costs in high education and are dedicated to being responsible stewards of student resources,” says Mark Winter, associate vice president for Budget & Finance. “Because of that, we have worked hard to find efficiencies and opportunities to provide world-class education, innovative research and community-focused service without increasing costs.”

This year the university was ranked No. 14 in the nation by The Wall Street Journal for providing the best higher education value. The U has the lowest tuition among all Pac-12 and Big 10 institutions (based on 2019-20 total tuition and fees for a full-time resident undergraduate). It also has the highest graduation rate and among the lowest average student loan debt of all public, four-year institutions in Utah.

Those who attend the Truth in Tuition open house will have a chance to talk to members of the university administration who can discuss university operations, including how the U ensures students get the best value for their tuition dollars. For those unable to attend, a summary of the topics discussed is presented below:

Efforts to promote student success

Tuition and fees support several student success initiatives.

  • While a Collegiate Reader Program Fee will be eliminated, however, the program will continue for several years until current funds are exhausted).
  • A new $0.75 fee will cover the costs of new digital software for Campus Connect, a news and social networking app.
  • Student leaders also voted to initiate a $2.35 fee for program planning directed at remodeling and improving or possibly building a new Union Building to replace the nearly 70-year-old A. Ray Olpin Union Building.
  • Student enrollment is projected to increase slightly for the 2020-21 school year to 24,700 undergraduates, bringing total university enrollment to 33,000.
  • The university has a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio.
  • Financial aid support is on an upward trajectory. For example, in 2017-18, students were able to use nearly $255 million in grants and loans. During the 2018-19 school year, students drew upon more than $268 million in funding.
  • A new fund—the For Utah Scholarship—will award grants beginning fall semester 2020. Scholarships are available to all eligible Utah students who maintain a full course load and a 3.0 GPA.

Improving Operational Efficiency: The U works diligently to ensure efficient business practices and to preserve the environment through sustainability initiatives.

  • The university logged the lowest total energy consumption and cost in the past nine years during the 2018-19 school year.
  • By 2021, nearly two-thirds—71%—of the U’s electricity will come from renewable resources.
  • The U used 18% less water in the past year, saving 87 million gallons and $500,000 per year.