They say you can't have it all, but Utah State University would argue otherwise! This booming research university has spent the last century cultivating its status as an international powerhouse and vibrant home for curious scholars of all backgrounds and aspirations. But while its reputation continues to balloon, this top college in Utah has maintained its humble small-school feel and holistic approach to education. Students are encouraged to pursue a wide range of interests, which often means taking trips off campus to explore the numerous national parks (including Yellowstone and Arches) and mountain ranges in the area. Utah State has also maintained its small school price;Forbesconsistently includes this affordable university in Utah on its list of "lowest tuition" schools nationwide.
In this ranking, we examine top value universities and colleges in Utah for 2019.
Utah is well known for its stunning national parks and breathtaking natural views (where else will you find towering mountains, expansive deserts, and lush forests all in one place?), but what about higher education? While college students in Utah can certainly take advantage of the outdoor adventures that undoubtedly await, they’ll also find plenty of reasons to stay on campus. Although Utah might not rank high in total populace, it more than makes up for its low density with top schools like Westminster College and the University of Utah – both of which attract students from many other parts of the country. And then of course there is Brigham Young, a top Utah university that caters to the state’s large Mormon majority (and which is hard to beat when it comes to affordability!). You may also want to check out our ranking of the Top Online Schools in Utah.
In terms of value, colleges in Utah aren’t limited to the benefits they afford members of the Church of Latter Day Saints, either. Although there isn’t a huge quantity of universities in Utah to begin with (which is why there are only five schools listed below), the schools that shine, shine bright. Our targeted ranking system has identified the top colleges in Utah based on their ability to straddle that fine line between expense and excellence.
Methodology: Value Ranking the Best Utah Colleges and Universities
Graduation Rate: This indicator refers to the percentage of students who complete their degree within 150% of normal time (six years for a typical four-year degree program). Schools that perform well in this area have a track record of keeping students engaged and successful for their entire time on campus. We weighted this category 30% of the total and retrieved the information from College Navigator.
Net Price: In order to make sure that cost was still a factor in the ranking, we also considered overall net price as an indicator. Taken from data on College Navigator, “net price” is an approximate value that refers to the average amount of money a student could expect to pay each year after taking into account tuition, room and board, living expenses, scholarship awards, and financial aid packages. We weighted this category 25% of the total.
Acceptance Rate: Academically challenging, popular universities tend to be more selective and thus have a lower acceptance rate. In order to pinpoint those colleges that boast rigorous academics and also receive a large number of applications, we considered acceptance rate – the percentage of students out of the total number of applicants who receive an acceptance letter. We retrieved this information from College Navigator and weighted it 30% of the total.
20-Year Net Return on Investment: Taken from information on the website PayScale, this statistic provides a picture of how much students can expect to make after they graduate from a particular college. More specifically, the figure is calculated by taking the average income an alumnus will make over his or her first 20 years after graduation and subtracting the amount paid in tuition. Schools with a high ROI tend to be better at preparing their students for the job market. We weighted this category only 15% because data was not available for all colleges considered.
After adding all the points, we gave each university a final score out of 200. The schools below have scores ranging from 95 to 152, and each has something different to offer in terms of its cost, quality, and reputation. No one college is perfect (which is why the scores vary so much) but this ranking offers you a premier selection of universities to help get you started on your search for an education in Utah.
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This concludes our ranking of best value Utah colleges and universities.
About the Author:
Iris Stone began her writing career as a freelance writer and researcher. She now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Her work has included articles related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and careers.
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