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State Policies to
Address Access,
Growth, and
Funding for
Enrollment Growth
Low Tuition
An Array
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Utah College
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  Higher Education Overview

Higher education in Utah consists of 10 public institutions, governed by the State Board of Regents. There are also three private higher education institutions, including Brigham Young University (BYU), which enrolls over 30,000 students, including about 6,600 from Utah. The State Board was established by legislation in 1969 and is by law "vested with the control, management and supervision"10 of public institutions. The board consists of 18 members, including 15 appointed by the governor, one student member, and two non-voting members of the State Office of Education. The 15 gubernatorial appointees serve staggered six-year terms, and no more than eight of these appointees may be from the same political party. The board "oversees the establishment of policies and procedures, executive appointments, master planning, budget and finance, proposals for legislation, develop governmental relationships, and performs administrative unit and program approval for higher education for the State of Utah".11 The board also establishes tuition levels for all institutions. The board is staffed by the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education.

Table one gives general information on the public institutions within the Utah System of Higher Education. The system includes two research universities, two comprehensive state universities, two regional colleges (which have the bulk of their students enrolled in lower division or vocational programs), three community colleges, and a college of applied technology. The Utah College of Applied Technology (UCAT) has nine separate campuses across the state.

*Both Utah Valley State College and Dixie College have a comprehensive community college mission, but now also offer upper division baccalaureate degrees in specific areas. The mission of these two institutions will be discussed at length later in the case study.

** Enrollment at UCAT fluctuates because of open entry/open exit policies. This number is head count for postsecondary students only. With secondary students, enrollment at UCAT is 54,334.

*** Base tuition for adults at UCAT (high school students by law pay no tuition) is $1 per clock hour; tuition for some programs is higher due to industry standards or equipment/material needs.12

Figure one illustrates the fairly balanced distribution of students into the different institutional types (including private institutions) in the state.

Figure 1

Public higher education enrollments in Utah have grown significantly over the past 20 years, doubling from the 67,000 students enrolled in 1982-83 to over 149,000 in 2003-04. (For historical comparative purposes, this number does not include UCAT enrollment. When UCAT is added, this number increases by an additional 41,000 students.)13 Between 1990 and 2000, when the state population grew by almost 30%, higher education enrollments increased by 46%.14 Enrollment growth has tapered off somewhat over the past few years, with an increase of less than one percent in enrollments in 2004.15 Over the next decade, Utah expects more than 35,000 additional students to enroll, an increase larger than the current enrollment at the University of Utah.

10 Language drawn from Utah State Education Code 53B-1-103, (February 6, 2004).

11 Board responsibilities outlined on the Utah State Board of Regents Web Site, (February 6, 2004).

12 See Utah College of Applied Technology Web site, Frequently Asked Questions, for additional information.

13 For USHE enrollment numbers, see Utah System of Higher Education, Data Book 2004-05, Tab C, "Enrollment," Table 1 ( September 17, 2004); for UCAT numbers see Utah College of Applied Technology, Second Annual Report 2002-2003, page 5; for tuition figures, see Data Book 2004-05, Table 3, Tab E, "Tuition and Fees" ( September 27, 2004).

14 Utah System of Higher Education, 2003 Long-Term Enrollment Projection Model, (Salt Lake City: 2003).

15 Shinika Sykes, "Public College Growth is Slight," Salt Lake Tribune, Oct. 17, 2004, p. B1.


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