Utah has the lowest percentage of high school graduates immediately entering college. While most other states are above 55 percent, only 42 percent of Utah high school graduates immediately enter college.
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There are, however, a variety of private and federal student loans, scholarships, and grants to help Utah families afford a college education. This guide offers several options for college-bound students to explore.
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Getting Financial Aid for Utah Students
If you’re applying for financial aid, you’ll need to gather financial documents to help you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form is available online and is used to calculate your family’s expected contribution to your college expenses. The FAFSA requires the student’s and parents’ Social Security numbers, along with any tax documents, and any statements from your bank and investment accounts.
You can estimate how much a school will expect you to pay out of pocket by using the FAFSA’s expected family contribution (EFC) formula online. A student’s EFC depends on factors including the family’s income, investments, and how many children are attending college. Typically, the higher the income and investments, the more the family will be expected to contribute.
The financial aid office at your school will determine your amount of need-based aid by subtracting your EFC from how much it will cost to attend the school. There are several need-based federal aid programs. But Utah students also have many state-based options.
Utah Student Loans
The Utah state board of regents runs an organization known as the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority (UHEAA). Through the UHEAA, the state of Utah offers a state-level student loan to college students. Their loan program is called Complete Student Loans.
Complete Student Loans
Eligibility: Utah residents who are pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree either in or out of the state of Utah.
Loan Limits: There is a minimum loan amount of $1,000. The loan amount cannot exceed the school’s cost of attendance. The annual loan limit is $100,000, and the lifetime aggregate loan limit is $200,000.
Perks: Nonresidents who are attending a college or university in Utah may also be eligible for a loan through the Complete Student Loans program. Complete Student Loans have a fixed interest rate that varies from 5.50% to 6.75% for undergraduate students and 5.75% to 7.00% for graduate students.
In addition, college students in Utah can obtain private student loans from local financial institutions.
University Federal Credit Union
The University Credit Union was established in 1956 by a small group of finance professors at the University of Utah. The credit union originally served only the employees of the University of Utah, and it later added students and alumni to its membership. In 2004, the credit union opened its membership to anyone who works, goes to school, worships, or volunteers in the Salt Lake County area. University Credit Union currently serves 100,000 members.
Eligibility: Borrowers without a significant credit history require a co-signer
Loan Limits: minimum of $2,000 up to the total cost of attendance ($120,000 lifetime maximum)
Perks: Cosigners can be released from their obligation after the borrower makes 12 consecutive on-time monthly payments.
Utah College Scholarships
Scholarships, which are usually merit-based, are a form of financial aid that students do not have to repay. Getting Utah scholarships can help offset the amount of money you have to pay out of pocket or borrow in student loans. Here are some noteworthy Utah-based and regional scholarships for college students.
Regents’ Scholarship Program
Amount: Award amounts vary with available state funding
Deadline: Feb. 1
Requirements: Students must be Utah residents who are attending an approved Utah college or university. There is a minimum ACT score of 22 and a minimum GPA of 3.3 on all high school coursework. In addition, students must have completed specific course requirements in grades 9 to 12, which include four credits of English, four credits of math (one of the four credits must be in an advanced math class), three credits of social science, three credits of lab-based science, and two credits of the same world language.
New Century Scholarship
Amount: Amounts vary with funding availability, but the maximum scholarship award is $1,250 per semester.
Deadline: Feb. 1
Requirements: Scholarship recipients must graduate from high school with a minimum GPA of 3.5 and complete an associate’s degree with a GPA of at least 3.0 from an eligible Utah institution by their high school graduation date. Alternatively, students can complete the approved math and science curriculum while earning a 3.5 GPA on high school coursework and 3.0 GPA on college coursework. The scholarship funds can be used at any eligible Utah college or university.
Utah Jump$tart Coalition Financial Literacy Scholarship
Deadline: March 18
Requirements: Recipients must be seniors at an accredited Utah high school who are currently enrolled in or completed the General Financial Literacy course.
NSHSS Andeavor Youth Leadership Awards
Deadline: March 15
Requirements: This scholarship program recognizes students who are outstanding leaders in their schools and communities. Recipients must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and demonstrate financial need. Applicants need to write a 500-word personal statement.
Korean American Scholarship Foundation – Western Chapter
Amount: Awards range from $500 to $5,000
Deadline: June 30
Requirements: Students must be of Korean heritage attending a college or university in Utah or one of the 12 other states that are members of the Western Chapter. Recipients do not have to be U.S. citizens as long as they are of Korean heritage and studying in the western United States. Applicants should have a minimum 3.0 GPA on high school coursework and have demonstrated financial need.
Utah Independent Insurance Agents Scholarship
Deadline: April 2
Requirements: Applicants should have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and demonstrate that they have been active in extra-curricular activities through their school, community, or church.
Utah Grants for College
A grant is a type of financial aid, usually need-based, that does not have to repaid. Here are a couple of grants available to Utah students for college.
CHS Foundation Cooperative Education Grant
Amount: $750 to $1,500, but guidelines are updated near the end of each year
Requirements: Applicants must be pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree from a Utah college or university. This grant is for students who are pursuing an education in agribusiness or a related field.
TEACH Grant Program
Deadline: Oct. 1
Requirements: Applicants should show evidence of academic achievement such as a GPA of 3.25 or standardized test scores in the top 25 percent. Recipients must agree to teach at a specified school serving low-income or inner-city students in exchange for the grant money, which can be renewed annually for four years in undergraduate programs and two years in graduate programs. Teaching must be done in a high-need field or at an elementary or secondary school serving low-income families.
Author: Kimberly Goodwin, PhD