Utah colleges and universities are benefiting from a smart action by the Utah Legislature, which last March allowed colleges and universities to offer in-state tuition to students from other states who have demonstrated academic strength.
We do add one condition to our approval of the lower tuition rates. It should be considered a temporary reduction in tuition. As Utah's colleges and universities overcome the drop in students due to missions, the tuition reduction for out-of-state students could be discontinued. We don't want a situation to develop where worthy Utah students would lose out to out-of-state students competing with no price variance. At this time, though, that is not a problem.
The tuition-reduction action was made to offset the anticipated drop in Utah college and university students after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dropped its church mission age requirements to 18 for men and 19 for women. Previously, men had to be 19 to go on a mission, and women had to be 21. With young adults now able to serve missions directly, or several months after high school, there were legitimate fears that Utah colleges and universities would lose a significant number of students, and money.
But the Legislature's move has reduced that fear. It looks as if Utah Valley University, in Orem, will suffer the highest drop in students, with 7 percent fewer enrolled this fall.
There is another advantage to offering in-state tuition rates to exceptional students from outside our state. It's that these students may stay in Utah after graduation, improving the state with their talents and skills. Utah is considered an economic strength in the U.S. The Economist magazine recently touted our state in an article, citing its business growth from firms such as Boeing, eBay and Procter & Gamble as an example. (http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21584381-where-taxes-are-low...)