SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - Tuition at Utah’s most expensive college is about to rise even higher. Westminster College in Salt Lake City announced an 8.5 percent increase for classes in Fall 2020.
The tuition increase equates to $3,000 more for undergraduate students per year. While students admit they are used to annual increases, they tell FOX13 they never expected a tuition increase to be so high.
“It’s frustrating and confusing and upsetting,” sophomore Laurn Millenbach said.
For years, Millenbach and her family saved up to attend her dream college. However, she never expected Westminster College to cost quite this much.
“For me, it’s hard because I’ll find a way to make it work but it’s going to be really tight and stressful,” Mullenbach said.
Undergraduate students spent $34,984 for classes this year. In the fall of 2020, that number rises to nearly $37,960.
“I was very surprised that it was that high,” Missy Crittenden said, Westminster College senior.
Westminster spokesperson Arikka Von said the college kept annual tuition increases low despite rising education costs. In recent years, the college eliminated staff positions and reduced employee retirement benefits, but it’s not enough.
The private college made up of 2,000 undergraduate students is not funded by taxpayer money.
In a statement, Westminster College President Beth Dobkin wrote: “Although we have made many budget reductions over past years, the reality remains that the cost of providing a high-quality education has grown faster than our tuition. We have notified both students and parents that we will increase financial aid to returning students based on financial need and will provide information about this additional funding early next year. Our goal is to provide the most assistance to our neediest students. We are working to balance offering a Westminster education at the lowest possible cost while sustaining the people and programs necessary to ensure high-quality educational experiences.”
While difficult, some students understand.
“It definitely sucks but if you think of all the things, like the programs they need to sponsor and inflation that goes on in the world, you kind of need it,” sophomore Chad Swim said.
The college promises to increase scholarships to help offset the tuition increase. Yet, Mullenbach admits the increase may force some students out of the classroom.
“I’m so sad for them and I’m stressed for myself and… there’s no fairness in it,” Mullenback said.
Students are organizing a protest Friday afternoon.
President Dobkin plans to attend three informational sessions with students in January to discuss the tuition increase. The sessions are organized by the student body government.