Best Utah Colleges & Universities

Become Team
Become Team
November 20, 2020

Higher education is growing in Utah. Utah's under-eighteen population is the largest in the country, and Utah also has the seventh fastest growing economy. Looking at these statistics, it's easy to see why there is a high demand for college education. Fortunately, the cost of attending a four-year college in Utah is the third lowest in the U.S. To provide an overview of the higher education landscape in Utah, we looked at numerous factors that matter to students, including tuition, financial aid and student loan debt and compiled a list of resources and college planning tools specific to the state. Students who are interested in attending colleges in Utah can start here to help choose a well-suited school.

Utah College Leaderboard: Rankings

With so many options for higher education, it can be difficult for students figure out which school best fits their needs. Rather than sort through the enormous amount of information on each college, students can begin with rankings. This rankings list takes into account numerous factors, including graduation rates, tuition, earning potential and student-to-faculty ratios, in order to help students narrow down their list of potential Utah colleges.

Rankings Methodology Minimum Qualifications
  • Located in Utah
  • Public or private not-for-profit
  • Institutionally accredited
  • At least 10 total programs
Ranking Metrics
  • Median annual alumni earnings 10 years after entering the college
  • In-state tuition and fees for undergraduates
  • Student/teacher ratio
  • 6-year graduation rate
  • % of students receiving institutional financial aid (first-time, full-time undergrads)
  • Average amount of institutional aid awarded per student (first-time, full-time undergrads)
  • Availability of placement services upon completion
  • Availability of academic/career counseling services
  • Availability of employment services
  • 3-year student cohort loan default rate
Data Sources

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS): National Center for Education Statistics

Latest 'Final Release' data available as of Fall 2016 College Scorecard: U.S. Department of Education

2-Year Programs

Salt Lake Community College View School Profile $ 23% 96.97 $36,200 21:1 6% N/A 0 123 Yes No
Latter-day Saints Business College View School Profile $ 31% 86 $30,400 23:1 51% N/A 0 27 Yes No

4-Year Programs

Brigham Young University-Provo View School Profile $ 77% 99.8 $57,400 18:1 44% 47% 0 268 Yes No
University of Utah View School Profile $$ 59% 98.22 $49,300 17:1 41% 81% 4 216 Yes Yes
Westminster College View School Profile $$$$ 57% 97.05 $45,500 9:1 96% 96% 1 69 Yes Yes
Weber State University View School Profile $ 45% 95.64 $42,400 21:1 50% N/A 6 122 Yes Yes
Utah State University View School Profile $ 50% 94.52 $42,400 22:1 51% 98% 12 156 Yes No
Dixie State University View School Profile $ 63% 94.43 $34,600 20:1 23% N/A 0 26 Yes Yes
Utah Valley University View School Profile $ 17% 94.21 $43,500 22:1 33% N/A 3 78 Yes Yes
Southern Utah University View School Profile $ 36% 93.14 $37,200 18:1 63% 61% 8 59 No Yes
Stevens-Henager College View School Profile $$ 58% 89.19 $31,700 30:1 48% N/A 13 15 Yes Yes
Western Governors University View School Profile $ 27% 87.59 $38,800 41:1 N/A N/A 48 48 No No
Independence University View School Profile $$ N/A 86 $31,700 25:1 28% N/A 10 10 Yes Yes

Search & Compare Colleges in Utah

Searching through the schools in Utah based on particular criteria may provide students with more answers on the best school for them. This easy search tool allows students to sort through the schools that meet their particular criteria, like location and acceptance rates, and then compare those schools side by side to get the best idea of which ones should make the short list.

College Planning and Assistance Programs in Utah

In order to help prospective college students attend college, the state of Utah provides a series of programs, initiatives and resources to make the college planning process easier and more affordable. Some of these programs are especially helpful to disadvantaged students, such as those who may come from a family where no one has ever attended college. The following are some programs that help students through the college process.

Concurrent Enrollment

This program, run by Utah's public colleges, allows qualified high school juniors and seniors to take courses for college credit. In order to be eligible for this program, students must achieve a GPA, ACT score or other placement test score that is high enough to ensure a student will receive at least a B in the course. One of the biggest advantages of Concurrent Enrollment is savings in college tuition, which has amounted to over $29 million spread out over 26,000 high school students.

Regents' Scholarship

This program consists of three awards, which provide scholarship money to students who attend any of the public colleges or universities in Utah, as well as a select few private colleges and universities. In order to be eligible, high school students must take college prep courses that go beyond the minimum high school graduate curriculum requirements. If the students maintain appropriate grades, take the ACT and complete the application, they will be eligible to receive this merit-based academic scholarship. Depending on the application and performance, students can receive over $6,000 for college.

Utah Scholars

This initiative aims to motivate Utah students to take a high school curriculum that will provide the best preparation for college. Local leaders in education and business provide advice in the hopes of preparing students even further. In addition to pushing students to take a more rigorous high school course load, Utah Scholars also educates students on what they can do to prepare and pay for college. In addition to taking a particular course load, students will need to maintain a 3.0 GPA with no grade lower than a C.

Evaluating the Cost of College in Utah

There is more to understanding the cost of a college in Utah than just looking at tuition. A large number of college students will receive at least some financial aid to help defray the cost. To get more information about what a student can expect to pay for college, we have compiled the following statistics on the average Utah tuition, as well as the average financial aid award a student can expect.

Source: CollegeBoard

Source: IPEDS

Source: IPEDS

* Institutional aid represents grant and scholarship funds directly awarded by a postsecondary institution.

* Financial aid data represents 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Most Affordable Colleges in Utah

In order to calculate how affordable a college is, prospective students should look at more than just the tuition and consider financial aid. Subtracting a financial aid award from the tuition can provide a school's net price. The top six schools in Utah with the lowest net price are listed below.

Tennessee College Grad Debt Vs. National Average

Median Federal Student
Loan Debt After Graduation

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Utah Colleges With Top Alumni Earnings

College is an expensive undertaking. However, when students graduate, they often have the potential to make more money with their degree than they could have with only a high school diploma. The following list ranks the top six schools in Utah where graduates have made the most money ten years after enrollment.

Tennessee College Grad Debt Vs. National Average

Median Federal Student
Loan Debt After Graduation

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Colleges in Utah With Least Alumni Debt

College is an investment, and students often pour a great deal of money into their degree pursuit. Alumni debt, however, can be a heavy weight to carry after college. Schools that provide financial aid or tuition breaks can produce alumni with lower levels of debt. These top Utah schools produce graduates with the least student debt.

Tennessee College Grad Debt Vs. National Average

Median Federal Student
Loan Debt After Graduation

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Cost of Living in Utah: Housing, Healthcare and Other Expenses

The tuition is set, the financial aid is in, and the net price is paid with scholarships and grants-but what about day-to-day living? Even with an attractive cost of attendance, a particular school can be more expensive than anticipated due to a high cost of living in the surrounding area. To help students make an informed decision, we looked at the metropolitan areas of Utah, as well as the entire state, and calculated the average cost of living.

area composite index housing groceries utilities transportation health care misc.
Statewide Average 90% 79% 96% 86% 103% 87% 93%
Cedar City 89% 76% 94% 88% 104% 85% 93%
Ogden 89% 77% 93% 94% 98% 89% 93%
Provo-Orem 91% 84% 100% 85% 98% 90% 94%
Salt Lake City 96% 94% 97% 82% 110% 92% 97%
St. George 93% 88% 96% 87% 105% 93% 93%

Source: The Council for Community and Economic Research

Accreditation for Utah Colleges

When choosing one of the many colleges in Utah, prospective students should make sure the school is accredited. Accreditation is the independent certification of an academic program or school that proves it meets certain minimum instructional standards. Attending an accredited institution allows students to transfer credits easily and qualify for future graduate study.

Accrediting agencies can accredit entire schools as well as individual programs. For Utah colleges and universities, the regional accrediting agency is the Northwest Commission on College and Universities. Here are two examples of program accreditation at schools in Utah:

Popular College Cities in Utah


Established in 1849, Provo is known for a healthy and well-educated population. Provo is also a hub of innovation, with a large number of tech company startups based here. The low unemployment rate and well established public transportation system are just two more reasons why Provo is a great college town.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

ProvoBrigham Young University Private not-for-profit $13,070 $57,400
Brigham Young University was founded in 1875 and is currently supported by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Despite its religious affiliation, BYU has a diverse student body that totals over 32,000. BYU offers more than 170 undergraduate majors, 68 master's focuses and 26 doctorate programs in areas such as psychology, actuarial science, microbiology, tourism studies and accounting. BYU's accounting program is especially notable, as it ranks number one in the country.
Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City was founded in 1847. From restaurants to shopping to various parks, Salt Lake City has a variety of activities for college students. It is also a major hub for professional opportunities. Here are some great schools to help students get started.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

Salt Lake CitySalt Lake Community College Public $7,169 $36,200
SLCC offers over 120 programs to over 61,000 students. Academic offerings vary widely and include biology, clinical lab assisting, interior design, paralegal studies and welding. The curriculum is very flexible, allowing over 70 percent of students to continue working while pursuing their education. The attention and care paid to the students is excellent, with an average class size of 20.
Salt Lake CityUniversity of Utah Public $14,114 $49,300
The University of Utah was founded in 1850 and supports a student population that exceeds 31,000. The university contains 17 colleges with almost 100 departments of study. Those areas include law, fine arts, social work and science. The University of Utah is particularly proud of its research and innovation programs. In addition, college sports enthusiasts will enjoy Utah's presence in the Pac 12 conference and its status as the first ?BCS buster.?
Salt Lake CityWestminster College Private not-for-profit $21,837 $45,500
Westminster College is a very small, private liberal arts school. Total student enrollment is under 2,800, but that low number can be deceptive, as students have just as many programs to choose from as they might at one of the bigger schools in the state. At Westminster College, there are over 42 undergraduate majors spread out across four schools. The average class size is 17, which contributes to the excellent student-to-faculty ratio of 9-to-1.

Source: College Scorecard

Utah College Resources

A wealth of information and resources are available to those interested in Utah colleges. Below are some of the great resources that can help further your research.

Career Technical Education (CTE)

CTE provides information to students who are interested in gaining professional skills and experience in order to join the workforce soon after completing high school.

Step Up Utah

Step Up Utah is a social awareness campaign that provides a vast array of information to students considering enrollment at a Utah school.


This is a guide for students thinking about transferring schools within Utah. Its website explains how credits will transfer between schools, so students can make a more informed decision.


UHEAA is the state's government agency for administering student loans to Utah students. The agency also educates Utah families about how to pay for college.

Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP)

UESP is Utah's 529 college savings plan, which provides tax benefits for college savings. Consisting of a nonprofit trust find, UESP is the only official 529 savings plan sponsored by the state.

Utah System of Higher Education-Majors Guide (USHE)

USHE is made up of the eight public colleges and universities in Utah. One of the resources provided is a major's guide, which helps students figure out what to study in college.

Become Team
Become Team
Contributing Writer