The shift to 15 hours shouldn't be too difficult for the approximately 74 percent of first-time freshmen who were already taking 11 credits or more in fall 2012, said Pam Silberman, Utah System of Higher Education spokeswoman.
"It's not a huge push to add a class," she said.
And a Hawaii study found that students improved their grades with a 15-hour course load, regardless of academic preparation.
"We know that students who enroll in at least 15 credits finish college faster and can start on a career that provides financial independence and increased lifetime earnings," said Utah's commissioner for higher education, David Buhler, in a statement.
Except for the University of Utah, institutions in the state don't charge more money for 15 hours than for 12. The U. will also offer so-called plateau tuition in the next year or two, Silberman said.
The change could be unmanageable for students with family responsibilities or who have to work to afford college, though Silberman maintained that the sooner students graduate, the less tuition they have to pay.
"It seems to make a lot of sense, 'I'll work part-time and earn a degree,' but the data doesn't support that," she said. "Life gets in the way and you're not focused on education as the primary objective. If you're able to really focus on education for a short period of time, the payoff is great."
The campaign will continue through summer orientation for next year's incoming freshmen, and high school students getting ready for college will also see it. Students with a state-funded Regents' or New Century Scholarship are already required to enroll in and successfully complete 15 credits each semester following a Utah Legislative vote earlier this year.