With the new, lower age requirements for LDS Church missionaries, Utah colleges and universities expect to lose hundreds of students this semester and are bracing to lose millions of dollars in future tuition revenues.
Anticipating tuition revenue losses of up to 10 percent next academic year, some institutions are already imposing hiring freezes and stepping up their efforts to attract students from out of state, according to a Utah Board of Regents report released this week.
"There can certainly be some positive long-term effects from all this, but in the immediate future the financial effects are real and tough," said Greg Stauffer, associate commissioner for planning, finance and facilities at the Board of Regents, the oversight body for higher education in Utah.
"If the average class size was 25, it’s not like all 25 go away. They will go down to 20," he said. "You still have full ... facilities cost, you just have less revenue coming in."