DAVE & DUJANOVIC

Tuition in Utah has increased by $132 million over the past 5 years

Oct 16, 2018, 2:18 PM
Tuition in Utah have been going up without justification. (Zimmytws / Shutterstock)...
Tuition in Utah have been going up without justification. (Zimmytws / Shutterstock)
(Zimmytws / Shutterstock)

College tuition prices in Utah have gone up by nearly $132 million over the past five years. And, according to an audit by the Office of the Utah Legislative Auditor General, our colleges aren’t even giving reasons for their tuition hikes.

The auditor general reviewed tuition increase requests filed by college presidents over the past five years. In every case, the audit claims, the Utah Commissioner of Higher Education could not provide records of a single independent validation for a tuition increase request.

Those $132 million in tuition increases, in other words, have been approved without the slightest explanation or justification.

“We can’t really tell where that money’s going, nor can we see how it was justified,” House Majority Leader Brad Wilson says.

KSL Newsradio’s Dave & Dujanovic spoke with Brad Wilson and the Utah Commissioner of Higher Education, David Buhler, too better understand what this means for Utah and how it’s going to be fixed.

How did tuition in Utah get so high?

File photo of Rep. Brad Wilson from Aug. 19, 2015, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Before tuition prices can go up at a college in Utah, the Council of Presidents meet and discuss their needs and the tuition increases they want to implement. Their requests are then passed on to the Utah State Board of Regents, who are expected to check their justification before approving their requests.

But over the last five years, according to the auditor’s report, that hasn’t been happening.

“The commissioner’s staff could not produce any independent validation of the institution’s tuition requests,” the report says. “Board of Regents do not participate in, or even attend, [Council of Presidents] meetings.”

The meetings where these tuition hikes are planned, Wilson says, are done completely behind closed doors, without any minutes written down or any information shared to the public.

That’s lead to some major problems. According to the audit, tuition increases in Utah have been almost three times what the legislative compensative match supports, and they’re being made at nearly identical rates regardless of a college’s actual needs.

“The regents have been raising tuition across the board at the same rate,” Rep. Wilson says.

Each college, Wilson says, has its own unique needs. Those uniform tuition hikes, Wilson seems to be implying, might be a sign that these colleges aren’t always looking at their needs before cranking up their prices.

“I have seen a lot of audits in the time I’ve been here,” Wilson says. “This is one of the worst.”

The path forward

Tuition in Utah

Utah State University, as seen from above. (Photo: Utah State University)

Though tuition in Utah has been rapidly rising without checking the college’s justifications, tuition in Utah remains the third-lowest in the nation.

Despite what the audit says, the increases, according to Dave Buhler, the Commissioner of Higher Education, haven’t been excessive.

“The tuition increases we’ve had have been the lowest since 2000,” Buhler told Dave & Dujanovic.

He says that the audit is more a criticism of the process of setting tuition prices in Utah than it is of the prices themselves. “They note in the audit,” Buhler says, “the amount of tuition increases over the past five years … may have been very much needed.”

Buhler says that the audit only criticized the process for looking into why a college was making an increase in the first place. He says that his team plans of following every one of its recommendations.

“We think their suggestions are good ones, and we’re going to be implementing them over the next six months,” Buhler told Dave & Dujanovic.

Rep. Wilson agreed that we can expect to see big changes in how tuition prices are set in Utah. He said that he’ll be “expecting a very different tuition hike approval process” in the future.

More to the story

If you missed Dave & Dujanovic live on KSL Newsradio, you can still catch their full conversation with Rep. Wilson and David Buhler on the Dave & Dujanovic podcast.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL Newsradio. Users can find the show on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on Google Play Music

Today’s Top Stories

Dave & Dujanovic

...
Curt Gresseth

Former U.S. Attorney for Utah talks about what FBI can take off your cellphone

A legal expert joined Dave and Dujanovic to discuss how the FBI can obtain evidence of a crime from a cellphone.
2 days ago
centerville arson fire...
Curt Gresseth

What’s behind random acts of violence in Utah?

What's behind a recent spate of random violence in Uta?. A sleeping couple at home in West Valley City is stabbed by an intruder. A stranger enters a home with three elderly people in Centerville and burns it down. Greg Skordas, KSL legal analyst breaks down what he thinks is motivating young people to commit random acts of violence.
3 days ago
Government contractors erect a section of Pentagon-funded border wall along the Colorado River. (AP...
Curt Gresseth

Yuma mayor talks about migrants illegally crossing into city: US has the laws to fix problem

An Arizona mayor talks with Dave & Dujanovic about migrants coming into the country illegally. He says the U.S. has the laws to fix the problems.
4 days ago
BYU study COVID money...
Elizabeth Weiler

Utah’s young adults being launched into the world of financial responsibility

Because young adults are rarely in personal high-income situations, they are categorized as low-income, making them at higher risk for credit card debt. 
4 days ago
EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 17: The line of scrimmage between the Oregon Ducks and the Brigham Young Cou...
Curt Gresseth

Reporter talks about ugly chant from students at BYU-Oregon game

A Deseret News reporter tat the BYU-Oregon football game on Saturday talks about the anti-LDS chant heard and filmed from the student section and what may happen next.
5 days ago
a tax form, 1040, is often used to file taxes...
Curt Gresseth

Americans pay more in taxes than food, clothing, education and health care — combined

On average in 2021, American consumer units spent $15,495 on food, clothing and healthcare combined, less than the $16,729 spent on taxes, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. Debbie thinks the figures are low. Dave said the report from the Bureau is a good example to show much Americans pay in taxes.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Tuition in Utah has increased by $132 million over the past 5 years