Utah’s higher education system has been chosen to collaborate with 11 other states to improve college participation and completion rates. The state has received about $200,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the time and resources the project will require. Higher education officials have identified three key issues the state will focus on. Higher Ed Commissioner Dave Buhler says the goal is to simplify college-level math requirements, address the large number of residents who have some college credit but didn’t graduate and help make the admissions process easier, especially for first-generation college students.
“There are a lot of students who are certainly able to go to college and certainly want to go to college, but just don’t know how to do it and how to navigate the various deadlines and those sorts of things,” Buhler says. “That’s an area where we know some improvements could be made that would help the number of students who participate and eventually graduate from college.”
Buhler says Utah higher ed officials will be meeting in Washington D.C. over the next year with their counterparts from states like California, New York, Texas, Minnesota and Georgia.
“I expect we’ll learn from them, the things that they’re doing that may align with what we’re interested in and hopefully they’ll learn some things from us,” Buhler says.
Utah leads the country in the number of residents who have some college credit, but did graduate. We’re also behind in the number of high school graduates who complete the Federal Application for Student financial Aid.