The U Does Not Comply with Law Designed to Provide Students with Degree Information

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The U Does Not Comply with Law Designed to Provide Students with Degree Information

U students at spring 2018 graduation | Courtesy of Courtney McBeth.

U students at spring 2018 graduation | Courtesy of Courtney McBeth.

U students at spring 2018 graduation | Courtesy of Courtney McBeth.

U students at spring 2018 graduation | Courtesy of Courtney McBeth.

By Victoria Hills

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A law intended to help students decide which institution of higher education to attend for their program of study was never fully implemented at the University of Utah.

In 2017, the Utah legislature passed HB100, a bill that required Utah institutions of higher education “to disclose information regarding program completion, job placement and costs for each program” to current and prospective students. The information was compiled onto UtahFutures.org and institutions were required to provide a conspicuous and direct link to the website.

The purpose of the law is to give students the opportunity to compare and contrast higher education institutions in Utah. The website covers the public colleges and universities in Utah — the U, Utah State University, Dixie State University, Weber State University, Snow College, Salt Lake Community College, Southern Utah University and Utah Valley University. Through the Return on Investment feature, UtahFutures shows the average cost for the degree, average time to obtain the degree and average first-year wages post-graduation for all institutions that offer the respective course program. UtahFutures is a resource for high schoolers making their college choice or current college students looking for more information about their degree.

However, some Utah institutions have not followed requirements to adhere to HB100. The Utah Investigative Journalism Project found that UVU, WSU and DSU have failed to place a conspicuous link to UtahFutures.org on their websites. On the U’s Academic Resources page, UtahFutures is notably absent as well.

While the U offers many academic resources to guide students to their major, UtahFutures has not been implemented.

Donovan Jones, a sophomore studying communications with an emphasis in strategic communication, had no idea that UtahFutures could have directed him to a different university. To get help deciding which college to attend and what major to pursue in 2017, Jones said, “I talked to my parents quite a bit, and talked to my older friends.”

Their advice could’ve been bolstered by the knowledge that UtahFutures offers. Still, Jones doubts that the website would have changed his college decision. When asked if he would’ve chosen a different institution if they had a better job outlook after graduation or a cheaper cost for his degree, Jones said, “not for my undergrad at least.”

Tommy Monroe, sophomore in political science and QAMO, is an out of state student from Boise, Idaho. He also had no idea UtahFutures existed.

“I researched a lot of universities. I applied to at least nine different schools,” he said. When asked if he compared schools based on job outlook after graduation and average costs for his major, he said, “I had to look at schools based off scholarship money.” Another resource UtahFutures offers is a scholarship search engine, which allows you to filter scholarships through personal characteristics, academics, financial need and more. “Regardless, I’m happy where I ended up,” he said.

Dan Reed, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, was unavailable to comment on whether UtahFutures had a place on the U’s website, or if the U plans to feature UtahFutures as a student resource.

 

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