Choosing a college after graduating from high school can be a difficult decision.
Students use many factors when pursuing a higher education, including cost, location and credibility. At Salt Lake Community College, there’s an entire division to offer help with these choices.
“The purpose of the Division of Student Affairs is to enrich lives through innovative, inclusive, and caring approaches that remove access barriers to higher education and improve student learning and academic success, persistence and retention, and goal completion,” says Dr. Charles Lepper, Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.
The Division of Student Affairs covers a vast range of departments, including Bruin Athletics, the Center for Health and Counseling, Enrollment Management, Admissions, Child Care, Student Services and much more.
“All those areas report to my office. But our primary mission is to help students be successful. We help in multiple ways from the beginning of the student’s application process to commencement,” Lepper says.
Students gain more than just the low cost of attending SLCC.
“Students receive a high-quality education from a committed faculty who I think are leaders in their field. I think part of our students’ benefit here is our average class size is less than 30 students,” Lepper says.
SLCC is accredited by the same agency that accredits the University of Utah and other institutions within the state and region.
Utah has the third-lowest tuition in the nation as a state. Individually, SLCC is in the middle of the pack.
“There’s 50% of institutions that have cheaper tuition and 50% that cost more than we do,” Lepper says.
According to the Utah System of Higher Education, the cost for a full-time SLCC student, which is 12 credit hours, is the second-lowest in the state at $1,684. The lowest is Snow College, totaling to $1,663.
These numbers pale in comparison to the U., which is the most expensive institution in Utah. Tuition for a full-time student at the U. is $3,324, not including fees.
Student fees at SLCC add up to $474, which is far lower than U. fees totaling $1,225.
Student Affairs is conscious of SLCC’s lower costs when compared to other institutions, which allows the school to keep its increases to a minimum.
As an administration, they strive to utilize SLCC’s student resources and what it costs to attend.
How fees are structured at schools vary, but the fee structure at SLCC is distributed for students. A student fee board, which Lepper chairs on as a non-voting member, takes place to hear student voices on the topic of tuition and increases. Members are often elected through the Student Government Association and are also met with staff.
With the students’ sharing their perspective, the fee structure is built around them. Fees are being used towards departments such as student activities, athletics, tech fees, and health and wellness.
“We’re transparent and we should be. Students are encouraged to ask us questions because they are paying for their education,” Lepper says.
Lepper also mentions a recent partnership between SLCC and Utah Transit Authority as another low-cost benefit. Under the agreement, which was reached two years ago, SLCC students pay $4 annually for a UTA pass, giving students access to public transportation at almost no cost.
As SLCC students end their time at the school, SLCC makes transferring to four-year institutions easy and gives students real-world experience.
SLCC is a leader in what is called open educational resources, or OER.
“We’re considered a national leader; we have classes that we use open educational resources that are on the internet. So, students don’t have to buy a book for the class, they pay a $5 fee to access the material,” Lepper says.
By offering OER, SLCC and its students have been able to save millions of dollars in textbook costs.
Not only does SLCC offer OER, but the institution has something called the SLCC Promise. This gives eligible full-time students an academic plan. The SLCC Promise offers to pay the difference in grants given to students if it does not meet the full tuition cost.
“I think SLCC is an outstanding institution, with outstanding faculty and outstanding students. We’re all here to help students be successful. We’re here to support students and what we would ask from them is to don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help,” Lepper says.
Visit the Student Affairs website for more information.