Dixie State sees highest tuition increase in state; SUU costs less than previous year

Dixie State University campus, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — It’s going to cost a little more to attend Dixie State University and a little less to enroll in classes at Southern Utah University after the Utah Board of Higher Education approved tuition and general student fee adjustments requested by Utah’s colleges and universities, according to a press release.

The Health and Human Performance Building is the most recent building to open on Dixie State University campus, St. George, Utah, Nov. 21, 2019 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

Institutional boards of trustees reported on their review and recommendations to the Board of Higher Education, following its October 2020 decision to implement a comprehensive review of all general student fees by institutional boards of trustees to determine if fees should be retained, transitioned to tuition or repealed.

The board ultimately approved a 1.98% systemwide average increase.

It also approved recommendations by institutional boards to eliminate, on average, over 11.5% of general student fees for degree-granting institutions and move those fees to tuition. Tuition increases, excluding general student fees, were primarily adjusted to meet the legislative requirement to fund compensation increases with tuition and for mandatory costs relating to tenure and promotion of faculty.

With one exception, tuition rates at Utah’s technical colleges remain the same, without an increase for the coming 2021-22 fiscal year.

“We’ve taken steps as a board in recent months to ensure that the cost of college is clear to Utah students,” said Harris H. Simmons, chair of the Utah Board of Higher Education. “Beyond public truth-in-tuition hearings held by Utah colleges, many general student fees are now wrapped into tuition giving students a more straightforward look at college costs. Affordability is a top priority of the Board, and after careful consideration, modest tuition and student fee increases for Utah’s public colleges and universities were approved.”

Dixie State University had the highest tuition increase, but officials there still said it is the most affordable college education in the state.

“Because DSU offers the lowest university tuition in Utah, increases are necessary for us to provide services similar to the other institutions in the state,” the university said in a statement. “This year’s slight tuition increase will make it possible for us to continue offering high-impact learning experiences that prepare our students for the careers of their dreams while maintaining the best deal on university tuition in the state.”

File photo: Southern Utah University campus in Cedar City, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Southern Utah University, St. George News

Conversely, Southern Utah University was the only institution to lower its tuition this year.

President Scott Wyatt told St. George News that the drop comes after three years in a row of keeping tuition at a flat rate. This is part of the university’s strategy to making college affordable and accessible, Wyatt said.

“As SUU has grown by 60% over the last six years, we spend less money per student on administration and move it to teaching,” he said. “We have plans to continue doing this. It’s our commitment to continue to bring down the cost.”

The Cedar City-based university will also offer a $9,000 bachelor’s degree in general studies, which students can apply for now. The program will cost $75 per credit hour, making it the least expensive college degree offered at any public university in the country, SUU officials said. The degree was designed to be a more focused program for anyone who started college but didn’t finish or can’t attend college on campus, Wyatt said. Students who have already completed two years of college can complete their education for between $4,000 and $5,000, he added.

“We cannot find another degree anywhere in America that costs less than this,” Wyatt said. “This is a degree that will help someone get a bachelor’s degree for a job that requires one or an advancement or get into grad school.”

Dixie State will not offer a similar bachelor’s degree, but under the DSU Cares Initiative the university offers select certificate programs for $20 per credit, public relations director Jyl Hall told St. George News. This saves students 90% on regular tuition and is designed to help Utah residents whose employment was affected by COVID-19.

“This tuition assistance for short-term educational goals is preparing residents to quickly enter the workforce and meet timely demands,” Hall said.

Institution Dollar Increase Percent
University of Utah $151 1.56%
Utah State University $195 2.49%
Utah State University – Eastern, Moab, Blanding $106 2.42%
Weber State University $122 2.00%
Southern Utah University $(44) -0.64%
Snow College $88 2.25%
Dixie State University $200 3.53%
Utah Valley University $104 1.76%
Salt Lake Community College $97 2.43%
USHE Average Tuition Increases 1.98%

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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