How Southern Utah’s colleges compare in terms of value, housing costs and tuition

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ST. GEORGE — Southern Utah colleges found themselves assessed and ranked against others in the state in a recent study. 

Stock image | Photo by Buro Millenial/Pexels, St. George News

Conducted by the financial advising company SmartAsset, the study compared all colleges per U.S. state according to their financial value, acquiring proposed scholarships and grants, tuition and student living costs, retention rates and average starting-salaries after graduation.

Here’s how Southern Utah colleges ranked in the statistical match-up.

Southwest Applied Technology Center ranked first in the state in the “College Tuition” category, with an average of $370 per student. Southwest Tech ranked 10th in both the “Best Value” and “Student Living Costs” categories.

Bruce Hughes, chair of the Southwest Tech Foundation Board, told St. George News that Southwest Tech’s placements in the study illuminate its value in the community.

“I think that Southwest Tech is a real sleeper,” Hughes added. “Great programs, cost-effective — we have a wide selection of scholarships, including a brand-new scholarship that targets Paiute students.”

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Dixie Applied Technology College ranked fifth in the “College Tuition” category at an average of $2,314.

Southern Utah University ranked fourth in the state in the “Best Value” category. SUU also ranked seventh in the “Starting Salary” category with an average of $49,900, and sixth in “Student Living Costs” at $13,650.

While Utah Tech, formally Dixie State University, ranked fifth in the state in “Student Living Costs” with an average of $13,502 and ranked ninth in state in the “Best Value” category, Jyl Hall, director of public relations at Utah Tech, said SmartAsset’s data is incomplete.

In the assessment, she said, SmartAsset has Utah Tech – under the name of Dixie State University – listed as $0 under the average starting salary category. 

“Without our graduates’ average starting salary, SmartAsset wasn’t able to fully measure Utah Tech’s value,” Hall said. “Utah Tech’s value is measured by students earning a quality education at an affordable price.”

Utah Tech students have “the most affordable university tuition in Utah … in more than 200 academic programs,” added Hall.

Instead of SmartAsset’s statistics, Hall referenced a 2021 survey conducted by Utah Tech. In this study, 537 out of 635 alumni agreed the tuition they paid “was a worthwhile investment,” 71% of the Utah Tech alumni said their employment is related to their graduated field of study, and 46% of surveyed graduates were employed. Of the Utah Tech graduates in this study, 59% reported their expected annual salary range was between $30,000 to $59,999.

The University of Utah, Utah State University and Weber State University took the top three ranks of the “Best Value” category, respectively.

SmartAsset gathered data on approximate tuition and student living costs of all colleges in the U.S. After the estimates, they accumulated student retention rates, average starting salaries and scholarships. In order to come up with the “Best Value” category, they created an index by adding 25% statistical weighting to salary, tuition and living cost categories, and 12.5% weighting to the scholarships, grant and retention rate categories.

Using 2021-2022 government data to formulate a different study, Univstats found that Utah’s statewide average tuition cost and fees were $15,172. About 414,394 students are enrolled in college in Utah, with an average state-wide graduation rate of 59.82%.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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