Best Colleges in Utah

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After deciding to attend college, the next step is choosing the right school to meet your needs. Utah’s colleges and universities feature a variety of degree and vocational programs across its 24 public, private and private religious institutions. To assist you in this process, we have applied our rigorous methodology to the latest education data to rank the best colleges in Utah, including the top four-year and two-year schools.

As one of the most educated states in the nation, it’s no surprise Utah is home to four-year institutions with great educational outcomes. Thanks to a statewide education initiative in 2014, Utah universities have put emphasis on expanding programs in areas with high earning potential (such as health, science and engineering), offering students a good return for their investment. The initiative also includes a comprehensive retention strategy, called Finish in Four, which creates a framework of community-based resources to help students reach their educational goals. Although a bachelor’s can seem cost prohibitive, the Utah System of Higher Education incentivizes students with plateau tuition, providing a discount to students who commit to enroll full-time. Below is a list of the top schools to help you get started.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1Utah State University 2/549.77%Logan, UT

Utah State University consistently ranks well among Utah colleges in national polls. The school boasts a beautiful campus surrounded by 10 major ski resorts, the closest of which is just 45 minutes away. Its medical programs are highly regarded, and USU students are admitted to med school and dental school at a rate 30% higher than the national average.

With the second oldest undergraduate research program in the nation, USU puts academic achievement at the core of its mission. The average class size is small (10-19 students), and nearly 75% will participate in real-world scenarios in the form of internships, co-ops, or clinical assignments before they graduate. After graduation, 78% of USU students reported that their career opportunities had improved.

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2Westminster College 4/559.55%Salt Lake City, UT

Westminster College is a small liberal arts university in Salt Lake City and one of the best locations for skiers. Around 2,800 students are enrolled at the school, ensuring an intimate learning environment with a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1.

Students at Westminster can pursue undergraduate and graduate programs within the School of Arts & Sciences, the School of Education, the School of Nursing & Health Sciences, or the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business, as well as pre-professional programs in pre-dental/pre-medical, or pre-law. The college is known for its military-friendly benefits, and 98% of students receive some form of aid to help cover the cost of tuition.

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3Dixie State University 1/534.76%Saint George, UT

Dixie State University offers a student-centered approach to learning. A small public teaching institution, it is also one of the most affordable colleges in Utah. Around 84.6% of the 8,000 students enrolled at Dixie live on campus, and all students are welcomed to participate in residential life, intramural sports, and student life (which includes elected student government).

The school offers 30 different bachelor’s degrees with 53 emphases. These range from criminal justice to accounting to theatre. Associate degrees and other certifications are also available in a large range of technical and trade skills.

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4Southern Utah University 2/550.36%Cedar City, UT

From aviation to geology, the broad range of programs available at SUU make it ideal for students of a wide variety.The university offers 150 undergraduate degree programs through six different educational schools. Graduation rates for bachelor’s degree candidates are 10 points higher than the national average.

In addition to the top-notch academics, SUU also enjoys a wonderful location. Las Vegas and Salt Lake City are both within a three-hour drive. The region is also rich with national parks and monuments such as Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon.

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5Utah Valley University 2/531.16%Orem, UT

In 2008, Utah Valley State College became Utah Valley University, and by 2011 it was the largest public university in the state. Today, enrollment tops 30,000 students, around 88% of whom are local, making it one of the most popular colleges in Utah.

UVU offers dozens of high quality programs, including one of the largest dance programs in the country. The Woodbury School of Business offers a respected marketing department, and its students have taken top honors at the national conference of the American Marketing Association.

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6Weber State University 1/534.73%Ogden, UT

Founded in 1889, Weber State University is one of the oldest and most prestigious colleges in Utah. The school offers an impressive 250 degree programs spread out across seven primary academic colleges. The average student-to-teacher ratio is 20:1, and fewer than 20 students are typically enrolled in each class, allowing for an intimate learning environment. When not in class, students participate in some 200 extracurricular clubs and student organizations.

Students at Weber can complete undergraduate and graduate degrees in areas such as aerospace studies, child and family studies, electrical engineering, and women & gender studies. The athletic programs at WSU are well-regarded. Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard was a standout athlete on the men’s basketball team.

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7University of Utah 2/562.21%Salt Lake City, UT

Referred to as the “innovation ecosystem,” the University of Utah offers strong academics in the fields of scientific research, entrepreneurship, and business. These programs work together to make some of the best student-founded start-up companies utilizing faculty and student research. The university also offers Utah’s only medical school.

The university moved to the prestigious Pac-12 athletic conference in 2011. Today, the football, baseball, basketball, and other teams compete against sports powerhouses like the University of Southern California and the University of Oregon.

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A two-year degree can be a great option for students seeking a smaller campus experience and lower tuition; some also prefer the vocational options and specialized certificated offered by these types of colleges. A selection of Utah’s two-year institutions are part of the Career and Technical Education Pathway, or CTE, which promotes programs benefitting those already in the workplace, as well as students seeking specific job and skill training. To further encourage attendance for all income levels, pilot programs such as the Partnership for Accessing College Education, offer complete scholarships for associate degree earners. We’ve compiled a list of the best schools below to assist you in the decision-making process.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1Latter-Day Saints Business College 1/570.85%Salt Lake City, UT

LDS Business College focuses on providing students with the opportunity to start a career as quickly as possible. Students can earn two-year degrees or certificates in high-demand fields such as IT and programming, social media marketing, and paralegal.

The college is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and is part of the Church Educational System that includes colleges in Utah such as Brigham Young University, as well as secondary and elementary schools. For this reason, 99% of the student body are members of the LDS church, and 45% are returned missionaries.

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2Salt Lake Community College 1/515.88%Salt Lake City, UT

SLCC is Utah’s largest and most diverse college, with a student body of over 60,000. Many students are recent high school graduates who will later transfer to four year colleges in Utah. The younger student body offers a lively campus atmosphere and top-notch college athletics; in 2016, the SLCC Bruins men's basketball team won the national championship for its division.

The college offers diverse degree programs, from aviation maintenance, to criminal justice, to web programming. Credentials (such as various certificates of completion, associate degrees, and apprenticeships) can be earned in flexible combinations to help students get personalized education.

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3Snow College 1/539.3%Ephraim, UT

Snow College provides a mix of residential and online academics that have been consistently ranked among the best for two-year colleges in Utah. CNN Money ranked the school #6 in the country due to the number of students who graduate or go on to four-year universities. The school boasts the lowest tuition of any college in the state.

High achieving students can also apply to the honors program, which not only offers scholarships to make school more affordable, but bolsters the applications of students who choose to continue their education at a four-year university.

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4Stevens-Henager College – Ogden 3/534.56%West Haven, UT

The Ogden/West Haven campus of Stevens-Henager College offers some of the lowest annual tuition of all Utah colleges. With a focus on skill-driven career-building, the education at Stevens-Henager is provided by working professionals, not just college lecturers. A great example of this is Campus Director Vicky Dewsnup, who was named one of “30 Women to Watch” by Utah Business Magazine.

Military members and their families can be eligible for significant scholarships to help cover tuition, including the Yellow Ribbon Scholarship, which covers 100% of a military member’s tuition not covered by the G.I. Bill.

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5Stevens-Henager College – Logan 3/529.86%Logan, UT

Stevens-Henager College-Logan offers some of the most beautiful scenery among all colleges in Utah. Not only is this an ideal college for local residents who wish to gain employment through career-focused education, Logan is also a destination town for those willing to relocate.

Two-year programs at SHCL include medical specialities and business administration, and even a fully online graphic arts program. Regardless of which program students chose, SHCL hires working professionals as professors to ensure the curriculum is relevant, and will give them the skills needed to land a job.

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6Midwives College of Utah 1/5N/ASalt Lake City, UT

Midwives College is ideal for non-traditional and distance learning students seeking to become midwives. Distance learners can take the entirety of their academic courses online before being paired with a midwife (preferably in the student’s local area) to complete the clinical portion of the degree.

The initial degree students earn at MCU is the associate of science in midwifery (ASM), which allows students to practice midwifery in most states. A remarkable 81% of graduates from MCU go on to work as midwives, with many of the remaining 19% finding careers in related positions.

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7Stevens-Henager College – St George 3/5N/ASt. George, UT

Stevens-Henager College-St. George provides an advanced, career-driven education. As part of the Stevens-Henager College system, students can draw from the resources of a larger institution while enjoying the personal feel and convenient location of a local school. Computer programming and computer technology/networking are two of the most in-demand associate degrees on the market today, and they are both offered at SHCSG.

At some colleges in Utah, the transition into the workforce after graduation can be difficult. But with the help of career services advisors at SHCSG, students can network effectively and find a job in their chosen career field.

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If you’re thinking about applying to one of the best colleges in Utah, continuing reading to learn more about living in the Beehive State.

This western, desertous state is perhaps most famous for it’s Salt Lake City region and ubiquitous religious culture, but Utah has much more to offer than Temple Square. With a population of nearly 3 million spanning 84,899 square miles, the area contains a wealth of natural wonders, cultural centers and paleolithic history . With a climate ranging from temperate to arid, Utah boasts both snow-laden ski resorts and expansive deserts, so there is something for every outdoor enthusiast to enjoy.

With a rapidly expanding economy, Forbes ranked Utah #1 on its list of Best Places to Start a Business. Contributing to the growth is a statewide emphasis on engineering and technology, as well as low energy costs (26% below the national average); the region also boasts a nationally-low unemployment rate.

To provide a greater understanding of the state, we have highlighted Utah’s five major regions below, each unique in topography and economy. To the north, the climate is mild and mostly dry, with myriad natural attractions and open country. Similarly, the western part of the state is largely unpopulated but is home to beautiful and expansive desert, as well as several tourist-worthy ghost towns. At the heart of the state is Salt Lake and surrounding area, which is home to capital Salt Lake City and is also the region’s business hub. Moab desert, a popular rock-climbing destination, is found to the east; ski enthusiasts can find plenty of slopes in the mountain-filled southwest.

Regional Spotlight: Northern Utah

  • Major Cities: Ogden, Logan, Honeyville, Garden City
  • Attractions: Hill Aerospace Museum, Bear Lake, Ogden Union Station
  • Cost of Living: Numbeo’s Cost of Living in Ogden
  • Popular Schools: Weber State University, Stevens-Henager College, Park University
  • Population: 195,481
  • Unemployment: 3%

Regional Spotlight: Western Utah

  • Major Cities: Grantsville, Brigham City, Wendover
  • Attractions: Monument Valley, The Spiral Jetty, Cedar Mesa
  • Cost of Living: Areavibes’ Cost of Living in Grantsville
  • Popular Schools: Toole Applied Technology College, Bridgerland Applied Technology College
  • Population: 111,556
  • Unemployment: 3.8%
  • Climate: Arid desert

Regional Spotlight: Central (Salt Lake) Utah

  • Major Cities: Salt Lake City, West Jordan, West Valley City, Provo
  • Attractions: Temple Square, Hogle Zoo, Salt Lake Tabernacle, Wasatch-Cache National Forest
  • Cost of Living: Numbeo’s Cost of Living in Salt Lake City
  • Popular Schools: University of Utah, Salt Lake Community College, Westminster College, Brigham Young University
  • Population: 1,091,742
  • Unemployment: 3.6%
  • Climate: Dry — temperate

Regional Spotlight: Eastern Utah

  • Major Cities: Price, Moab, Ephraim
  • Attractions: Dinosaur National Monument, Nine Mile Canyon, Emery County Pioneer Museum
  • Cost of Living: Areavibes’ Cost of Living in Price
  • Popular Schools: Utah State University, Snow College, Uintah Basin Applied Technology College
  • Population: 107,520
  • Unemployment: 5.5%
  • Climate: Varies; Dry — temperate

Regional Spotlight: Southwest Utah

  • Major Cities: St. George, Parowan, Panguitch, Kanab
  • Attractions: Brian Head Ski Resort, Little Hollywood Museum, Moqui Cave
  • Cost of Living: Numbeo’s Cost of Living in St. George
  • Popular Schools: George Wythe University, Southern Utah University, Southwest Applied Technical College
  • Population: 196,575
  • Unemployment: 4.2%
  • Climate: Arid desert


Utah’s diverse geography and thriving economy make the state a great choice for students. Establishing residency prior to enrollment is key to receiving the best price on tuition, and since the criteria for becoming a resident may vary from college to college, it is a good idea to start the process as soon as possible.

Minor residency status is dependent upon parental status. In Utah, at least one parent must reside in the state, and the minor must live full-time with this parent. Proof of parental residency is required for all students who are considered minors.

For Adults:

According to Utah law, the following criteria must be met for an adult (18 or older) to receive in-state tuition:

  • You must reside in the state for at least one consecutive year before enrollment.
  • You must relinquish all other state residencies in the form of a written declaration.
  • You must show proof that you have taken steps to establish permanent residency, such as a rental agreement or proof of employment.

Additional Resources for Utah College Students

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