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Students at Utah's public colleges and universities will likely pay an extra $80 to $290 in tuition next year.

Agenda materials released Tuesday show the Board of Regents will consider an average 3.4 percent tuition bump at Utah's eight campuses during the board's Friday meeting in St. George.

The proposal includes a hike of 2.5 percent at all campuses, known as "tier 1 " tuition. And four schools are requesting individual, or "tier 2," increases ranging from an additional 1 percent at Weber State University to 2.5 percent at both Utah State University and Dixie State University.

If approved, the changes would bring annual undergraduate resident tuition costs to a high of $7,697 at the University of Utah — a $289 increase — and a low of $3,276 at Snow College — an $80 increase.

Commissioner of Higher Education David Buhler praised the work of Utah lawmakers in funding higher education, which allows for a relatively small tuition increase compared to recent years.

"The Board of Regents and institutional presidents continue to work to keep the cost of college among the lowest in the nation," Buhler said, "so that higher education remains affordable and achievable for all Utahns."

USU's 5 percent increase translates to an additional $290 per year, the largest increase in raw dollars among Utah's public campuses.

Spokesman Tim Vitale said USU has not pursued a tier 2 increase since 2015, but is facing costs for student-led initiatives regarding mental health services and mathematics tutoring, as well as routine updates to faculty salaries, scholarships and software.

"This year we're just in a position where we had to do something to play catch-up," Vitale said.

Cathy Anderson, an associate vice president at the University of Utah, said the university's 1.4 percent tier 2 increase is intended to bolster student support services like academic advising, and to expand online and hybrid course offerings.

"What we're trying to do is make sure we offer a variety of classes and class choices for students," Anderson said. "It's trying to help give them the flexibility that they need to succeed and graduate."

The University of Utah announced last week the creation of "Block U," a suite of online general education courses that allow students to complete certain undergraduate degrees fully online.

Several majors were already offered through the school's UOnline program, including economics, nursing, sustainable tourism and hospitality management. But without a corresponding general education package, online students were not able to complete their degrees without attending some courses in a brick-and-mortor classroom.

Anderson said the university is sensitive to the barrier that tuition cost places in front of prospective students. But she added that while tuition at Utah's flagship university is the highest in the state, it remains lower than peer institutions around the country.

"We are also the lowest [price] in the Pac-12 and Big 10 when we look at other Research-1 institutions that offer the kind of education we do," Anderson said.

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