Fund growth in higher education

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It’s a rare opportunity because the presidents of all universities and colleges in the state have agreed to a formula that would provide this equity — even though the University of Utah, Snow College, Utah State and Southern Utah University would receive none of the roughly $69 million the Utah System of Higher Education is asking for in order to put all schools on an equal level with funding at about $4,800 for each full-time student.

The agreement gives lawmakers a painless way to help fund growth at the state institutions whose mission includes accepting virtually anyone who enrolls. As Utah’s population continues to increase, so does the pressure to provide a higher education to the burgeoning ranks of high school graduates, as well as the many non-traditional, older students anxious to earn a degree or certificate.

Utah’s education and political leaders have agreed to a goal of having 66 percent of all Utah adults in possession of a college degree or certificate by 2020. The goal is ambitious, but it would be much harder to achieve if all schools were not given the resources to keep up with growth.

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