The 8 Cheapest Colleges in Utah
- Tips for Saving Money on College
- The 8 Cheapest Colleges in Utah
- How Much Will College Cost Your Family?
Over the past few decades, the cost of college has significantly outpaced increases in wages. According to the website Student Loan Hero, tuition rose 213% between the time millennials were born and when they enrolled in college while wages have grown just 67% since the 1970s. Consequently, many college-bound students are now more cost-conscious, and the expense of an institution has become an important consideration when choosing a school.
There are numerous steps that college-bound students can take to make higher education more affordable.
Scholarships are an awesome way to acquire money for college; they’re readily available and don’t require repayment. Scholarships are available from a variety of sources such as businesses, individuals, and organizations such as religious groups. A good strategy for winning awards is to apply for smaller, more niche scholarships, such as those aimed at students from a specific region—for example, scholarships for students from a particular state, like scholarships for students from Utah.
Colleges themselves are another great source of scholarship dollars—colleges and universities fund $175 billion in scholarships annually, compared to just $11 billion in scholarships provided by other organizations. Many scholarships awarded by colleges are based on merit—that is, they’re awarded based on a student’s academic or extracurricular achievements. A good method for maximizing merit aid is for students to apply to schools where their profile is especially strong.
Understand the Actual Cost of College
A school’s sticker price is not a good representation of what college will actually cost. According to a 2019 New York Times Magazine article, just 11% of students pay full price for college. In fact, it’s common for perceived expensive private colleges to end up being more affordable than their seemingly more economical public counterparts after financial aid like scholarships and grants are calculated. Generally, private institutions are more generous in awarding merit aid—they typically have deeper pockets and use them to entice desirable students and ensure their classes are full.
Don’t rule colleges out because of a high published price. Use a net price calculator—like CollegeVine’s Financial Aid Calculator—to get a clearer picture of what college will really cost before making any decisions about which schools to apply to.
Attending community college and transferring to a four-year college is a little-used yet fantastic strategy for keeping college costs down. According to the College Board, the average published yearly tuition and fees for a public two-year college is just $3,440, substantially less than their four-year counterparts. Some systems—like the University of California System—even have programs established to facilitate the transfer of its community college students to its four-year institutions.
1. Snow College
Tuition In-state/Out-of-state: $3,616/$13,092
Location: Ephraim, UT
Acceptance Rate: N/A
Undergrad Enrollment: 5,500
Snow College was founded in 1888 (eight years before Utah became a state) by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Today, Snow College is unaffiliated with any religious organization and is one of Utah’s seven public state universities and colleges. Snow College primarily offers associate’s degrees, however, it’s home to two bachelor’s programs: a Bachelor of Music with an Emphasis in Commercial Music and a Bachelor of Software Engineering. Snow’s Horne School of Music is an “all-Steinway school” and features 12 student-performing groups and includes five choirs, three bands, and two jazz ensembles.
Learn more about Snow College and what it takes to get accepted.
Tuition In-state/Out-of-state: $5,064/$16,188
Location: Saint George, UT
Acceptance Rate: N/A
Undergrad Enrollment: 9,900
Prior to July 2022, Utah Tech University was known as Dixie State University—the school ditched its Dixie moniker as it was both controversial and geographically confusing. Up until 1993, the school also used the Confederate flag as a school symbol and was nicknamed “The Rebels” until 2007. Following the recent rebrand, Utah Tech University hopes to call attention to technological focus, improved inclusivity, and workforce-ready graduates. The website Niche ranks Utah Tech University as the 91st (out of 1,607) most conservative college in the country.
Learn more about Utah Tech University and what it takes to get accepted.
Tuition In-state/Out-of-state: $5,329/$15,74
Location: Ogden, UT
Acceptance Rate: 92%
Undergrad Enrollment: 24,700
Weber State University (WSU) isn’t just one of the cheapest colleges in Utah, it’s also one of the state’s best investments in education. The website Payscale ranks WSU 176th for in-state students and 221st for out-of-state students (out of 1,978 schools) on its list of best value colleges. The median WSU graduate salary—based on fifth-year median wages—is $54,771, just a tick below the $56,310 national average salary. In 2021, WSU provided $96 million in scholarships and financial aid to 13,0354 students.
Learn more about Weber State University and what it takes to get accepted.
Tuition In-state/Out-of-state: $6,006/$19,822
Location: Cedar City, UT
Acceptance Rate: 76%
Undergrad Enrollment: 9,200
Southern Utah University (SUU), also known as the “University of the Parks,” is within a five-hour drive of more than 20 national parks and monuments in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. In addition to a multitude of outdoor opportunities, SUU is also known for its efforts in the visual and performing arts. SUU is home to the Southern Utah Museum of Art and supports the Utah Shakespeare Festival—providing students with the chance to gain firsthand experience and education in the world of professional theater. SUU also leans conservative; the website Niche ranks it as the 97th most conservative college in the country.
Learn more about Southern Utah University and what it takes to get accepted.
Tuition In-state/Out-of-state: $6,120/$6,120
Location: Provo, UT
Acceptance Rate: 69%
Undergrad Enrollment: 31,400
Brigham Young University (BYU) is the flagship higher education institution of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. BYU is incredibly affordable for LDS Church members, however, tuition for non-members is double that of members. BYU students are expected to live in accordance with the ideals and principles of the church, which include abstaining from premarital or same-sex sex, the use of profane language, and consuming alcohol, coffee, and tobacco. The website Niche ranks BYU as the most conservative college in the country and The Campus Pride Index—an organization that identifies LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities—includes BYU on its list of the absolute worst campuses for LGBTQ youth.
Learn more about Brigham Young University and what it takes to get accepted.
Tuition In-state/Out-of-state: $7,749/$27,201
Location: Salt lake City, UT
Acceptance Rate: 79%
Undergrad Enrollment: 24,700
Founded in 1850, the University of Utah—“the U”—is the Utah public system’s flagship institution and top-tier research university. In addition to being one of the cheapest colleges in Utah, the U also has the lowest tuition for both in-state and out-of-state students among its public peers in the Pac 10 and Big 10. Helping keep costs down for its students is the school’s high 70% six-year graduation rate—the best of the state’s public universities and above the 62.2% national rate. The University of Utah also ranks highly for return on investment; the website Payscale places it 182nd for in-state students and 283rd for out-of-state students (out of 1,978 schools) on its list of best value schools.
Learn more about the University of Utah and what it takes to get accepted.
Tuition In-state/Out-of-state: $8,042/$23,162
Location: Logan, UT
Acceptance Rate: 91%
Undergrad Enrollment: 24,800
Utah State University (USU) was founded in 1888 as the Agricultural College of Utah and has the distinction of being the Beehive State’s only land-grant university. Today, the college’s nickname, “the Aggies,” honors its agricultural heritage. Another ode to its farming past is Aggie Ice Cream, which has been delivering tasty treats and providing students with real-world experience in dairy production since the school’s inception. Students more interested in their bank accounts than their stomachs will be happy to learn that USU will pay for the last class each semester for students who take 15 credits, helping students graduate faster and under budget. Like many other Utah colleges and universities, USU is quite conservative; the website Niche ranks it as the 9th most conservative college in the country.
Learn more about Utah State University and what it takes to get accepted.
Tuition In-state/Out-of-state: $38,680/$38,680
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Acceptance Rate: 87%
Undergrad Enrollment: 1,900
Westminster College is a small, private liberal arts college located on just 27 acres in Salt Lake City, the state capital. While Westminster College has a high sticker price, it’s taken numerous steps to make education accessible to all students. Every first-year student receives a grant or scholarship and the average award for first-year students is $27,128. Westminster College touts a low 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio and 14-person average undergraduate class size. Westminster students are big on giving back—students logged 450,000 hours of community engagement between 2014 and 2021.
Learn more about Westminster College and what it takes to get accepted.
Simply looking at the sticker prices of schools will not tell you what the cheapest colleges in Utah are for you. The actual cost of each college differs from person to person depending on a variety of factors, making sticker price a poor indicator of what you will pay. For example, it’s possible that an expensive private college that provides a generous merit aid award ends up being more affordable than an in-state public school.
A better measure of the true cost of college is net price, a calculation that figures in financial aid. Most college websites provide a net price calculator, but our free Financial Aid Calculator allows you to easily estimate the expense of colleges in Utah and across the country in one place and in just minutes.