- Utah's Public Colleges & Universities, Utah System of Higher Education, Accessed May 2017, https://higheredutah.org/usheschools/
- Utah State University, Accessed May 2017, http://www.usu.edu/
- About the U, The University of Utah, Accessed May 2017, https://www.utah.edu/about/
- About UVU, Utah Valley University, Accessed May 2017, http://www.uvu.edu/visitors/aboutuvu/index.html
- About WSU, Weber State University, Accessed May 2017, http://www.weber.edu/AboutWSU/
- About BYU, Brigham Young University, Accessed May 2017, http://news.byu.edu/about
- About Dixie, Dixie State University, Accessed May 2017, https://about.dixie.edu/
- About Southern Utah University, Southern Utah University, Accessed May 2017, https://www.suu.edu/general/
- Snow College Marks 120 Years of History, Snow College, October 31, 2008, https://www.snow.edu/pr/08/103108.html
- About Us, Westminster College, Accessed May 2017, https://www.westminstercollege.edu/about
- Gain Skills For The Real World At Broadview's West Jordan Campus, Broadview University, Accessed May 2017, http://broadviewuniversity.edu/location/west-jordan-utah/
- About Us, UHEAA Accessed May 2017, https://www.uheaa.org/about
- Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.
Despite being a largely rural western state, Utah is home to several powerhouse schools. These include public and private universities as well as online colleges that serve students in the state and beyond.
The Utah System of Higher Education includes six public universities, one public college and one community college. Articulation agreements allow credits to easily transfer between schools within the system. That can be particularly beneficial for students who want to start their education at a less expensive community college and then move to a university to earn their bachelor's degree.
In addition to public schools, Utah is home to a strong line-up of private colleges and universities. Brigham Young University is one of the best-known institutions in the state. Utah is also the base for Western Governors University, a major source for online Utah degrees.
Best 4-Year Colleges in Utah
Based upon a methodology that looks at factors such as cost, financial aid and degree availability, here are the ten best four-year colleges in Utah.
Utah State University isn't only the best school in Utah, it's also one of the top choices in the nation. The university is known for affordable tuition rates, a wide range of degree options and solid retention and graduation rates. It is also one of the best online colleges for Utah with nearly half its students enrolled in distance education in 2015.
Founded in 1888, USU's main campus is in Logan. The city has been named a top college town for its unique mix of arts, culture and outdoor activities. Utah State University has other residence campuses in Price and Blanding as well as dozens of regional campuses and centers across the state.
USU ranks first in the state for the amount of institutional grant aid it awards as a percentage of its tuition and fees. It is also third in the state for graduating students with the lowest median amount of debt.
As the flagship school of the Utah System of Higher Education, The University of Utah was founded in 1850. At its campus in Salt Lake City, faculty include one Nobel Prize winner as well as dozens of honorees from distinguished organizations such as the Guggenheim Foundation, National Academy of Science and National Institute of Health. The U, as it is often called, is part of the Pac-12 athletic conference.
The University of Utah ranks first in the state for the number of academic programs it offers. The school has 17 colleges and almost 100 departments offering both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. In 2015, communications was the most popular bachelor's degree awarded.
Among the school's other notable attributes are its retention and graduation rates. The University of Utah ranks third in the state for retaining students and second for graduating them on time.
Enrolling more than 33,000 students in 2015, Utah Valley University narrowly edges out The University of Utah as the largest public university in the state. The school's campus in Orem has a reputation for being one of the safest in the nation.
Compared to other Utah institutions, UVU ranks high for affordability, financial aid and degree availability. The university is first in the state for its low average net price as well as its average net price for low-income students. When it comes to helping students afford school, Utah Valley University ranks second for the amount of institutional grant aid it awards as a percentage of its tuition and fees.
Students will find numerous degree program options at Utah Valley University. In fact, the school ranks fourth in the state for the number of academic programs it offers. Should a student run into difficulty with their classes, the Academic Standards Office is available to provide support services.
Weber State University is another of the state's large public universities. The school boasts of having more than 225 programs that lead to associate, bachelor's and master's degrees as well as certificates. Those help rank WSU fifth for the overall number of academic programs it offers. The university keeps its tuition affordable and ranks third for its average net price.
Located in Ogden, Weber State University is an integral part of the larger community. It hosts sports camps and coordinates Science in the Parks and Arts in the Parks days to be run in conjunction with the Odgen City School District's free lunch program. The school has other locations in five communities including Roy, Clearfield and Morgan.
More than half the WSU student body are enrolled on a part-time basis. To help adult learners be successful, there are night and weekend classes, and students may be able to earn credit for life experiences.
The largest university in Utah is Brigham Young University. Founded and supported by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), the university has locations in Idaho and Hawaii as well as Utah. However, its flagship location is in Provo.
BYU is internationally known and draws students from all 50 states as well as more than 100 countries. It offers degrees in almost all the state's most popular fields of study, although exercise science was the major selected by the greatest number of graduates in 2015.
Brigham Young University's stellar graduation rate ranks first for Utah and its retention rate is number four in the state. It is also first for the cost of its books and supplies and the three-year debt repayment rate of graduates. BYU ranks second for the low median debt carried by graduates and has the second lowest average net rate for low-income students.
Located in St. George, Dixie State University is another affordable education option in Utah. The school has the second-best sticker price for tuition and fees in the state. What's more, 78 percent of students are offered financial assistance, according to the university. That helps it ranks third for the best average net price for low-income students.
DSU was originally founded as an LDS school in 1911. It was converted to a public institution in 1935. While the school filled the role of a community college for many years, it formally became a university in 2013. Today, Dixie State University includes six colleges that cover fields of study including the arts, education, science and technology.
In addition to being affordable, the university gets high marks for offering a flexible and supportive learning environment. There are online, night and weekend classes available as well as the option to earn credit for life experiences.
Southern Utah University likes to say it has the world's best backyard. Located in Cedar City and in close proximity to national parks and monuments, its campus is both historic and beautiful. The school was founded in 1897 and today is a regional university serving nearly 9,000 students. Its athletics department is part of the Big Sky Conference and has had champion teams in football, basketball, softball and cross country.
While there are plenty of reasons to study on the SUU campus, many people choose to study from their home or elsewhere. More than a third of the student body was enrolled in some form of distance education in 2015. That's enough to rank the university sixth in the state for that metric.
The university also ranks sixth for its graduation rate. Southern Utah University offers remedial support services, night and weekend classes and academic counseling, all factors that could help students earn their degree on-time.
Snow College has the distinction of having the lowest tuition and fees of all the Utah schools surveyed. It is also first in the nation, not just the state, when it comes to helping its students minimize their education debt. Snow College ranks first for the low median debt carried by graduates.
Like some other institutions in Utah, Snow College began as an LDS academy. It was founded in 1888, and control of the school was transferred to the state in the 1930s. For many years, Snow College served as the junior college for the region and is the oldest two-year school west of the Mississippi River. While Snow College still primarily provides technical training and awards associate degrees, it has also expanded to begin offering bachelor's degrees.
The college is part of the Utah System of Higher Education and has its campus in Ephraim.
Based in Salt Lake City, Westminster College does a good job helping its students successfully completely their degree programs. The college ranks second in the state for its retention rate and third for its graduation rate.
Westminster students benefit from small classes — the student to faculty ratio is 9:1 — and a flexible learning environment. Night and weekend classes are available as well as remedial support and academic counseling. Adult learners may be eligible for credit based upon their work history or other previous experience. Those who want to earn an online bachelor's degree in Utah will find both nursing and business options here.
Westminster College was established in 1875. It is a private, independent institution with four separate schools: the School of Arts and Sciences, Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business, School of Education and School of Nursing and Health Services. All four confer undergraduate and graduate degrees.
The West Jordan location of Broadview University is the smallest school on this list but also arguably the one of the best online colleges in Utah. While the campus hosts classes for only associate and a certificate program, the school's online offerings are substantial. They include a number of options to earn a Bachelor of Science degree from the comfort of your home.
Broadview University ranks second in the state for both the number of distance education programs offered and the percentage of students enrolled in those courses. The school's CareerPath initiative lets students take 6-week online classes and complete their degree at an accelerated pace. Adult learners may be able to transfer up to 75 percent of the credits they need to earn a degree. Those credits could come from previous college courses or work and life experience.
The university was founded in 1977 as a career college. It has been awarding bachelor's degrees since 2006.
Most Popular Degree Programs in Utah
While some majors are popular nationwide, others reflect the interests and economy of a particular state. Here's a look at which degrees are top choices in Utah.
In-Demand Careers in Utah
Students hoping to work in Utah after their graduation may want to look for a degree program leading to one of the following careers. These are all expected to see significant growth in the state.
|Career Title||Projected Job Growth||Total Employment||Annual Salary|
|Veterinary Technologists and Technicians||78.6%||1,030||$28,410|
|Social Scientists and Related Workers, All Other||61%||260||$49,460|
|Atmospheric and Space Scientists||60.7%||160||$75,970|
|Operations Research Analysts||59.6%||780||$80,570|
|Software Developers, Applications||58.7%||9,700||$95,190|
|Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers||58.6%||450||$21,320|
|Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary||56.7%||1,910||$140,070|
|Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, Postsecondary||55.6%||310||$60,060|
|Orthotists and Prosthetists||55.5%||-||$69,010|
|Interpreters and Translators||54.7%||1,270||$43,840|
|Computer and Information Research Scientists||52.6%||680||$91,680|
|Personal Financial Advisors||52.1%||1,920||$87,650|
|Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists||51.5%||6,250||$59,250|
|Precision Instrument and Equipment Repairers, All Other||50.7%||-||$56,240|
|Brickmasons and Blockmasons||50.6%||1,390||$39,820|
|Helpers--Brickmasons, Blockmasons, Stonemasons, and Tile and Marble Setters||49.7%||480||$30,280|
|Computer Systems Analysts||49.5%||3,800||$80,660|
|Law Teachers, Postsecondary||49.3%||150||$150,400|
|Physical Therapist Assistants||49%||640||$50,300|
|Healthcare Support Workers, All Other||48.9%||610||$40,570|
|Cartographers and Photogrammetrists||48.6%||140||$62,830|
Financial Aid and Scholarships in Utah
Financial aid may be available to qualified applicants to pay for both on-campus and online Utah degree programs. To apply for government assistance, students first need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority then administers the approved federal student loans through its CornerStone Education Loan Services program. Aid may also available through private loans, grants and scholarships, many of which require completion of the FAFSA.
November 15 (Early Action admissions deadline)
Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.25 GPA and full-time status.
February 1 (fall); October 1 (spring)
Renewable for four years.
Minimum 3.7 GPA and 24 hours every two semesters are required to retain scholarship.
Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.4 university GPA and completes 30 university semester hours per academic year.
- Utah System of Higher Education
- Utah State Board of Education
- Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority