Idahoans May Get Cheaper University Tuition as Utah Counteracts Missionary Exodus

Ann McClure's picture

Utah lawmakers moved one step closer Monday to passing a measure that would help fill a revenue gap left by an unprecedented exodus of students on Mormon missions by allowing public colleges and universities to offer in-state tuition to high-performing students from other states.

The Utah House education committee unanimously passed the measure, which would allow school presidents to waive the out-of-state portion of tuition for "meritorious'' students, a short discussion. The Utah Senate approved the bill earlier this month.

Enrollment is down this spring at nearly all of Utah's colleges and universities, and they are expecting bigger dips in the fall. Higher education officials are projecting losses in the millions over the next 2 1/2 years due to the lost tuition.

Mission applications have doubled since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced in October it was lowering the minimum age for missionaries: from 21 to 19 for women; and from 19 to 18 for men. Now, new, younger missionaries are preparing for missions at the same time as older missionaries who were already planning to go.

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