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Utah college grads earn more money, have less debt

It’s graduation season in Utah, with many of Utah’s public colleges and universities holding commencement exercises this week.

And they say going to college is still a good investment not just in terms of earning power, but for life lessons as well.

Last year, 25,000 graduates got diplomas from Utah’s 8 public colleges and universities according to Utah System of Higher Education

Spokeswoman Melanie Heath says they expect 60,000 more students to enroll in the next ten years, just based on population growth alone.

Heath says tuition and fees are going up again in Utah, but they are the third lowest in the nation.

“Utah graduates have the least amount of debt in the nation, and only half of the graduates have debt. It’s around 17 or 18 thousand dollars, versus 30 thousand dollars for the national average,” said Heath.

She notes that college graduates’ earning power is 85 percent more than someone with a high school diploma, and it can be up to a million dollars more over a life time.

“But aside from the economic argument, there is the quality of life argument. In college you grow your mind, learn how to better communities, how to think critically, appreciate diversity, and navigate the world. It’s an investment in yourself,” Heath said.