College is one of the best investments you can make into your future. That’s a fact most experts can agree on. However, the cost of your college education is an important factor in your decision—and your future financial health. According to Educationdata.org , in 2018, the average student loan balance had reached a record high of $35,359. The difficulties that student debt creates for newly graduated professionals is undeniable.
So, what are prospective students to do?
- Choose your path first.
Have a clear understanding of your career goals prior to selecting your school. If you go into college with defined career goals, you are much less likely to waste time and money on courses that don’t further your objectives. Your major and emphasis should be targeted to your selected profession—a student advisor is great for helping you plan your approach.
- Pick your school wisely.
If you plan to be a teacher or a social worker, you probably don’t want to attend an expensive private college out-of-state that will saddle you with $100,000 in student debt. Know your anticipated earning potential before your take out loans. If your chosen profession fits your passion, but doesn’t necessarily net a large annual salary—choose a college with low tuition so you can pay off your loans quickly (see our cost of tuition chart below for help.) Better yet, consider a two-year college that offers certificates or skills training so you can get a job while still in school, and pay your tuition as you go.
- Don’t forget cost of living expenses.
Tuition is not the only expense you need to plan for as you start college. Supplies, fees, food and housing are a significant additional cost that many students don’t take into account. Calculate these costs as you’re making you college selection. Factor them into your budget. Are there ways to cut costs? Maybe you can live with parents or friends while attending school. Does your chosen housing have a kitchen, so you can prepare your own meals? How much will you pay for fees and books at your preferred school? Does your school offer free public transportation, or will you need to pay for parking and transportation?
- Don’t wait.
Plan to begin paying on your student loans as soon as you can. Don’t put it off! If at all possible, find work in your chosen profession while you attend classes. Consider attending night classes or taking some courses online, so you can continue to work as you go. Many colleges are specifically configured to allow students the flexibility to work as they go to school. Take advantage of those opportunities. The sooner you pay off your debt, the sooner you can begin enjoying the fruits of your hard work and studies.
Going to college doesn’t have to mean tens of thousands of dollars in student debt. With prudence and forethought, you can go into college primed to gain relevant skills and training to get to work quickly. Wondering what college will best suit your needs? Below is a chart that will give you an idea of the average cost of attendance for colleges in Utah in 2020*.
|College||In-State Tuition and Fees||Supplies and Books||Living Costs On-Campus||Living Costs Off-Campus|
|AmeriTech College - Draper||$12,763||-||-||$8,344|
|AmeriTech College - Provo||$15,609||-||-||-|
|Bridgerland Technical College||$3,005||-||-||-|
|Brigham Young University||$5,790||$872||$7,766||$7,766|
|Davis Technical College||$3,763||-||-||-|
|Dixie State University||$5,496||$800||$6,974||$6,974|
|Dixie Technical College||$2,644||-||-||-|
|Eagle Gate College||$14,880||-||-||$6,489|
|Mountainland Technical College||$599||-||-||-|
|Neumont College of Computer Science||$24,750||$1,200||$9,048||$7,480|
|Ogden-Weber Technical College||$4,685||-||-||-|
|Salt Lake Community College||$3,929||$700||-||$10,780|
|Southern Utah University||$6,770||$1,600||$7,349||$7,500|
|Southwest Technical College||$358||-||-||-|
|Tooele Technical College||$2,293||-||-||-|
|Uintah Basin Technical College||$1,860||-||-||-|
|University of Phoenix||$11,566||-||-||-|
|University of Utah||$8,615||$996||$10,684||$11,862|
|Utah State University - Logan||$8,402||$868||$7,784||$8,616|
|Utah State University - Orem||$5,820||$724||-||$7,614|
|Weber State University||$5,986||$1,400||$8,611||$9,900|
|Western Governor's University||$6,670||$200||-||$6,000|
*Data is for Academic Year 2019 – 2020 provided by IPEDS (The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System), U.S. Department of Education.