One of the biggest reasons people decide against going to college can be summed up in one word: money. Some decide not to attend school due to the cost, while many have walked away with a degree but pay student debt for years after they graduate.
In-state tuition at Brigham Young University costs $5,970 for Non-Latter-day Saint undergraduates in the 2020-21 academic school year, and only half of that for Latter-day Saint undergraduate students. Out-of-state tuition costs as much as in-state tuition at BYU.
In-state tuition at the University of Utah costs $9,286 in the 2020-21 academic school year, and over triple that cost for out-of-state students at $29,996.
With the added expenses of room and board and the materials needed to pass classes, the cost of attending the U. or BYU can surpass $20,000. When compared to the prices of four-year institutions, Salt Lake Community College becomes a more affordable option for many students.
In the 2019-20 academic school year, the cost of attending SLCC was estimated at $3,928.50 for in-state students and $12,460 for out-of-state students. Tuition rates will rise slightly in spring 2021.
Over the past six months, life for college students has become even more stressful and unstable because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is causing financial uncertainty.
Carter Christiansen, an economics major, chose SLCC because it has the same curriculum as other colleges.
“It doesn’t make sense to blow money on other schools just for vanity … it’s a practical choice, a good school, and the most affordable,” Christiansen said.
Alex Garcia, a criminal justice major, transferred from Weber State University because he couldn’t afford tuition. Garcia says SLCC’s online course system was very helpful because he could do homework when he had the time, even at night after getting home from work.
SLCC is not just for students who want to get an associate degree and be done with school; most students who attend often use it as a steppingstone to a traditional four-year college.
Cory Heslop, a general studies major, says the cost of SLCC played a big role in his schooling decision.
“I am looking to transfer my credits, but it is a lot less expensive to get the associate [degree] at SLCC and then transfer,” Heslop said.
While COVID-19 has not hurt Heslop’s finances, it has impacted his course load.
“My income has not been affected by the virus, but the classes that I was going to take are only being given online,” Heslop said.
In a commentary for the Deseret News, SLCC President Deneece Huftalin explained that students can save around $10,000 just by going to SLCC for the first two years of their college education.
With the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, potential students may take another look at SLCC when considering their future.
“Because of the economy, a lot of schools are hurting … making long term investments is a wise choice,” said Dr. Anthony Nocella, an assistant professor of criminology at SLCC. “You get a good education [at SLCC], and it’s tens of thousands of dollars cheaper.”