Apr 15, 2022 / Money Tips

Two Ways to Combat the Rising Costs of College

College is expensive. It’s always been a stretch for students to save up and work their way through two to four years of traditional college, trade school, vocational school, or some other institution of higher learning. And, it’s only getting pricier with each passing year. Along with rising costs of living across the country, the cost of attending college here in Utah is about to go up by a significant sum. So, what can your students do to offset the cost of college?

The Rising Cost of College

According to the Deseret News, “undergraduate tuition at Utah’s public colleges and universities will rise next fall an average of 3.41% across all degree-granting institutions, with the University of Utah planning to increase tuition by nearly 5%.” That’s in addition to an average cost of $6,668 per semester for in-state tuition and fees, which is already higher than the national average.

According to the aptly named College Tuition Compare, a website that lets you compare the cost of attending college in any state, current in-state semester tuition and fees at a few of Utah’s major institutions are as follows:

  • Brigham Young University $6,120
  • Southern Utah University $6,726
  • University of Utah $8,893
  • Utah State University $8,960
  • Utah Valley University $6,010
  • Weber State University $6,228

All of these costs can seem extreme, especially for young students already struggling to make ends meet. And while costs are up across the board, the University of Utah in particular will exceed “$10,000 for a resident undergraduate student taking 15 credit hours for two semesters” for the first time ever, according to the same Deseret News article.

1. Apply for Scholarships

Scholarships are a great way to offset the rising costs of college. And, there are more opportunities available than you might think—both merit and non-merit based. It takes a little work (and a lot of patience) to filter through online applications and fill out scholarship forms, but the rewards can be significant.

Start by meeting with your school’s academic or guidance counselors and ask about all the scholarship opportunities available to you. These counselors often have community connections and existing resources to help you work through and apply for opportunities that fit your specific situation. You can also search online scholarship databases to expand your search.

Scholarships come in all shapes and sizes, and although you should absolutely look into national opportunities, your best chances for scholarship success are right in your own community. According to U.S. News and World Report, a national publication that helps students search for scholarship opportunities nationwide, looking locally first usually means less competition for you and greater chances of scholarship success.

In fact, if you’re a student, you can apply for your very first local scholarship in minutes. The Utah First Cash for College Scholarship awards $1,000 scholarships to 25 different students every single quarter. You just have to be a student and a member of Utah First to qualify.

2. Start Saving Now

You’ve already seen the shocking sticker price of attending college in Utah, to say nothing of the rising cost of rent, books, school supplies—the list goes on. So just how much do you and your students need to save in order to meet the high price of higher education?

Some financial experts recommend the one-third rule. That means one-third of the cost of attending college will come from you, one-third will come from your child, and one-third will come from financial aid resources, including scholarships. If you think it’s difficult for you to save that amount, just think of your students. By some measures, saving for college means putting away $300 a month, every month for 18 years.

At Utah First, we want to do our part to help your students save for college. Through our Savings for Success program, we’re giving $100 to every high school, college, trade school, or vocational school student who opens a savings account, no strings attached. It’s our way of giving your students a savings account with a little seed money to help their educational goals become a reality.

Invest in the Future

Attending college is expensive, but with a little scholarship help and the right savings plan, your students can prepare financially for one of the most significant investments of their lives. To learn more about the Utah First Cash for College Scholarship and Savings for Success programs, stop by a branch or visit us online.