tuition-picOnce a month, we send our Prepare + Pay for College E-Newsletter out to almost 200,000 students, parents, counselors, and educators all over Utah. All are welcome to reply back to our newsletter if they have any questions about preparing or paying for college. Here’s one of the great questions that came in this week…

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Question from Utah Student:

Hi, I’m an eighth grader living in Utah. I am currently looking at a career in marine biology. Due to this, I don’t know if I can receive the schooling I need in-state, but my parents can’t afford to pay out of state. Is there a way I can still get the career I want, without breaking the bank? Thank you so much for your time and effort. This means a lot to me and my family.

Answer from StepUpUtah Paying for College Expert:

We are so happy to hear from you at such an early age about your college plans. It’s good for you to start thinking about your college future now so that you can reach your dreams. I have done some research for you, and I have three tips to make to help you pay for your education and make sure, like you said, you don’t break the bank.

1. Start Thinking About College Costs Now!

Here at StepUp Utah, we want you to be able to pay for college. We created a special Paying for College Guide to help you start thinking about college costs that you will have to pay later. You can download it here. I would start by applying for scholarships (it’s never too early to start looking and applying for scholarships), saving in a 529 savings plan or a bank account, and talking to your parents about ways that you can save money or how you plan to pay for college. Remember that when you get to your senior year, you can fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) so you can know if you may receive money from the federal government.

 2. Make the Most of High School

There are a lot of great ways to make your career dreams a reality by taking concurrent enrollment classes to get a head start. These are classes that you take in high school that can apply for college credit. Here’s a great introduction to these classes to help you understand how you can start in high school (next year for you!) to prepare for college. Make sure you work hard, take the right classes to qualify for the Regents’ Scholarship (a scholarship to help you pay for school here in Utah), and talk to your high school counselor so you can stay on track!  

 3. Schools in Utah Can Help You Reach Your Dreams!

I have been doing some research about what it takes to become a marine biologist, and there are a lot of great resources at our institutions here in Utah. Most marine biologists go on to get graduate degrees in marine biology (after they finish four years of college, they go on for another two or more years of school), but get their undergraduate degrees in biology, oceanography, or biology education. Here’s a list of how each institution of higher education in Utah can help you achieve your dream!

  • At Southern Utah University, you can study biology and focus on zoology (the study of animals) to help you achieve your dream.
  • The University of Utah also has classes available to help you prepare for studying marine biology as a graduate student.
  • Utah State University has degrees in biology but also a degree in fisheries and aquatic studies, which could likely help you to reach your goal of becoming a marine biologist in the future.
  • At Dixie State University the biology department has opportunities to work with a marine reef aquarium as well!
  • At Utah Valley University, you can take introductory courses in oceanography and study biology in order to prepare for graduate studies.
  • At Weber State University, you can study zoology and prepare to become a marine biologist.
  • At Snow College, you can study biology for two years and then transfer to another university in the state to get your bachelor’s degree.
  • At Westminster College, you can also study biology and take classes in marine biology.
  • Finally, at BYU you can take classes related to marine biology or get a degree in biology or biodiversity and conservation.

You can visit these schools when you get closer to finishing high school and find out which one suits your personality, needs, and wants in the best way.

We are your paying and preparing for college experts here at StepUp! We are here to help you achieve your dreams of becoming a marine biologist. Let us know if you have any other questions.

Remember – If you ever have any planning, preparing, or paying for college questions for us, we’re always happy to help. You can send us a direct email to or go to our contact page and send your question there. Have a wonderful day!

-Bryan from the Step Up to Higher Education Utah Team