SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Board of Higher Education unanimously voted Dec. 1 to eliminate application fees for in-state applicants moving forward.

Career Tech High School literally “saw” their grand opening during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on campus, St. George, Utah, Sept. 22, 2023 | Photo courtesy of Career Tech High School, St. George News

According to a news release from the board, this supports “its mission to equitably provide accessible, valuable, innovative, and affordable higher education for students to expand their economic mobility, enhance their cultural awareness and improve their overall quality of life.”

“At the heart of this decision is a commitment to providing as many students as possible with the opportunity for higher education,” said board member Cydni Tetro in the news release. “Eliminating application fees for USHE colleges is a tremendous step forward in ensuring access and opportunity.

“This demonstrates the alignment of our entire education system to meet the needs of our students and communities by empowering individuals, enhancing their lives and opening doors statewide; we are thrilled to let in-state students know that application fees are officially waived.”

This move further supports the board’s strategic plan and system attainment goals in the areas of access, completion and workforce alignment.

“We appreciate the leadership of the board to remove barriers for our students as they apply to pursue their education,” said Brad Mortensen, president of Weber State University, in the news release. “We’ve seen the positive impact it has for increasing opportunities for students to pursue their dreams.”

Added Deneece Huftalin, president of Salt Lake Community College: “USHE has long been laser-focused on increasing access to college and changing the college-going rate. We know that removing application fees has improved applications in the state before, and we would like to see that trend continue. This is a great step in removing barriers to higher education and a way to ensure that everyone has access without any sort of financial barrier limiting them.”

To cover lost fee revenue, the board will pursue various sources of one-time bridge funding while working to develop an ongoing funding proposal, the news release said.