By Katie Wornek – StepUp Outreach Officer and Paying For College Expert – 11.23.17
Thanksgiving 2017 has now come and gone. I’m personally grateful for a weekday off, non-stop football games, and lots of food. But, as a student, I have plenty of other things to be grateful for year-round! Whether you’re in college now or planning to attend one of Utah’s colleges in the future, here are a few things you can give thanks for…
1. Low tuition
Did you know that Utah has the third-lowest tuition in the nation? Utah residents paid an average of $6,790 to attend Utah’s 4-year universities last year (compared to a national average of $9,970).
Check out all of our schools to take advantage of low tuition rates throughout the state:
2. Promise Programs
Many states and communities have “promise programs” to help students pay to attend a specific college. In Utah, we have three:
- SLCC Promise (Salt Lake Community College) – SLCC created SLCC Promise to help “eligible, full-time students pay for their education by covering the cost of tuition and fees when federal grants fall short.” There are several requirements to qualify; discover all the requirements and information here.
- Dream Weber (Weber State University) – Dream Weber offers free tuition and waives fees for students whose annual household income is $40,000 or less. Visit WSU’s site for additional information.
- Griffin Grants (Westminster College) – Westminster students from families making an adjusted gross income of less than $100,000 per year are guaranteed scholarships and grants ($24,000 a year for four years). Learn more and apply here.
3. 529 plans
Saving for college is an important and early step students and families can take to prepare for the cost of college. You can save money in a personal savings account (at a bank or credit union) or in a 529 college savings plan.
529 plans provide investment benefits and tax advantages when you save money and then use that money for qualified higher education expenses. Utah’s 529 plan is the Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP). Visit their website to learn more.
4. Help from school and community
Utah high schools and colleges have amazing counselors, financial aid professionals, and student support staff who are passionate about helping students access higher education. There are also many government and nonprofit organizations that exist to help students find success in both college and career. If you need help preparing and paying for college, please contact StepUp! We can answer many of your questions or help you find resources in your school or community. You can contact us via:
Katie is an Outreach Officer with UHEAA and StepUpUtah. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in History and Political Science from the University of Utah and previously worked as a tutor with the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) college preparatory program. You can follow her for professional advice about preparing and paying for college on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (@StepUpKatie).