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Differential Tuition

The Jon M. Huntsman School of Business charges tuition over and above the tuition by the university. This “differential” tuition was instituted in 2007 with the support of our students and approved by the Utah State University Board of Trustees and the state Board of Regents.

Current differential tuition per credit hour is as per below for Academic Year (AY) 2018-19:

  • Undergraduate lower division (1000 & 2000-level courses) - $2.03
  • Undergraduate upper division (3000, 4000 & 5000-level courses) - $159.36
  • Graduate (6000 & 7000 -level courses) - $476.04

Market forces are driving the need for differential tuition. Enrollments keep increasing, and we continue to introduce new academic and extracurricular programs. An increase in the number of students and in the number and types of courses and programs means that we must hire new faculty and staff. And across the US, faculty teaching business disciplines are in such high demand that the average salary of new business assistant professors is 74 percent higher than that of new non-business assistant professors.

We want our students to be informed about their education and we welcome input from all of our stakeholders. The Huntsman School Differential Tuition Advisory Board, comprised of students, faculty, and staff, is just one mechanism through which we ensure full accounting and transparency for differential tuition. This website is another means by which we promote open access to information.

We take seriously the responsibility of effectively and efficiently deploying the resources that our students, alumni, and friends provide. We do not ask for more resources from any of our stakeholders without a compelling need. We are committed to utilizing these resources to their highest and best use as we pursue our mission to build a great business program at USU. We have no hesitation about sharing with others the use to which we have put these resources.

We have also provided detailed information, based on feedback from our students, about the use and need for differential tuition in the FAQ section below.

Please feel free to contact Associate Dean Dave Patel with any questions or concerns at

Question 1 - What is Differential Tuition?

Differential tuition is additional tuition above the tuition charged by the university. At USU, six of the seven colleges charge differential tuition.

Question 2 - Why does the Huntsman School charge differential tuition?

At both the Huntsman Business School and Utah State University, enrollment, or demand, has increased, but budgets for faculty and staff, or supply, have not kept pace. We are faced with a decision to cut enrollment (demand) or increase cost (supply). Supply and demand also applies to the hiring of faculty. Enrollment (demand) has increased but the number of qualified faculty (supply) is declining.

We do not want to cut enrollment for a variety of reasons. Utah State University, through its land-grant mission, plays a role in providing access to higher education to all who qualify. Further, we believe the Huntsman School is gaining momentum through quality teaching, research and programs, and we want as many outstanding students as possible to share in the Huntsman experience.

Schools of business have been hit by a “perfect storm” of increased salaries, retirements and a “war for talent” in the last few years. According to the 2016-17 Faculty Salary Survey for Four-Year Colleges and Universities by Discipline, Rank, and Tenure Status conducted by The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR), the average salary of a new assistant professor for all disciplines at a research institution is $78,221, whereas the average salary of a new assistant professor for Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Services is $136,503.

Without additional resources to recruit and retain top faculty, the quality of a USU business degree is threatened. With rising enrollment, we must find ways to pay for more faculty members and staff to serve our students effectively. Increases in enrollment will also result in a comparable increase in department, program, and infrastructure expenses. Assuming existing funding support from the legislature and from university sources continues at similar levels that we currently experience, differential tuition is critical in meeting these additional expenses.

Question 3 - How is the money collected from differential tuition used?


As per the approved use of differential tuition by the State Board of Regents, differential tuition is used to cover costs associated with the following:

  1. Salaries and benefits for Huntsman School faculty and staff
  2. New and existing student experiential programs
  3. Administrative infrastructure and operating expenses

Salaries and benefits: The vast majority of differential tuition revenues go to pay faculty and staff. For FY18, 65 faculty and staff members are fully or partially funded by differential tuition. Many of the faculty and staff supported through differential tuition are instrumental in our aspiration to become a top-tier business and economics program. Without them, we could not teach the number of courses nor offer program support in our student advising, career development, entrepreneurship, study abroad, or graduate programs as we do today.

New and existing programs: We believe that “outside-the-classroom” learning is as important as “inside-the-classroom” learning and provide our students with a variety of experiential opportunities to further their understanding of contemporary business methods. Our goal is to develop these programs with funding from the school, with a clear objective for the programs to become self-funded within a set time frame. Differential tuition helps to cover costs associated with our international and entrepreneurship programs, as well as our career development services. It also includes support for academic departments, visiting faculty, and curriculum development.

Administrative infrastructure: Administrative Infrastructure category includes faculty research and development, including software and research databases, branding and marketing for the Huntsman School, and student wages.

Question 4 - How have differential tuition funds been spent?

The Utah State Board of Regents provided authority to use differential tuition for faculty and staff salaries, to support programs that benefit all students, and for administrative infrastructure. The below table details the allocation of resources per those categories for the most recent years for which we have complete, audited data.

Program Support category includes support for academic departments, visiting faculty, curriculum development, career & student services, entrepreneurship, international, and graduate programs. Administrative Infrastructure category includes faculty research and development, including software and research databases, branding and marketing for the Huntsman School, and student wages.

Differential Tuition Spending Report FY2013 - FY2017

 Differential Tuition Spending Report 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018
Net Revenue $5,884,870 $5,812,540 $7,045,738 $8,185,853 $9,263,003
Personnel- Faculty & Staff $4,754,921 $4,253,090 $4,027,321 $4,971,772 $7,372,013
Program Support $895,817 $912,348 $1,373,934 $1,596,932 $1,297,378
Administrative Infrastructure $548,631 $635,651 $1,138,399 $1,104,421 $714,017
Total Expenditures $6,199,369 $5,801,089 $6,539,655 $7,673,125 $9,383,408

Question 5 - Do I pay Differential Tuition now?

Yes, all students pay $2.03 per credit hour for lower level business undergraduate courses, $159.36 per credit hour for upper-level undergraduate courses, and $476.04 per credit hour for graduate courses. This “differential” tuition was first instituted in 2007 with approval by the Utah State University Board of Trustees and the Utah State Board of Regents.

Question 6 - Is differential tuition a replacement or supplement for USU tuition?

Differential tuition is used as a supplement to USU tuition. This additional resource is necessary due to increasing enrollment, new courses, increasing costs to support faculty and staff salaries, and new and expanding programs to support our aspiration to create a top-tier business school.

Question 7 - How has differential tuition increased the value of the program?

Over the past ten years, our students have received national, regional, and university recognition, including the Truman Scholarship (for only the fourth time in USU history), the Goldwater Scholarship, three Elijah Watt Sells Awards, and closer to campus, USU Man of the Year, USU Woman of the Year, the Bill Robins Memorial Award, Whitesides Scholar Athlete of the Year, and national championships in finance, marketing, and management information systems competitions.

We have also brought aboard faculty from renowned programs such as Harvard University, Northwestern University, Oxford University, Vanderbilt University, Notre Dame University, and many others.

We have created 12 new academic and extracurricular programs, including a new Master’s degree program (MSFE), minors in entrepreneurship and real estate, the Clark Center for Entrepreneurship and the FJ Management Center for Student Success.

Our Focused Fridays initiative has created a vehicle for direct interaction between students and employers. During the 2016-2017 academic year, our students interacted with 238 different employers at 329 different recruiting events. These interactions have meant placements at globally-recognized firms, including General Mills, Goldman Sachs, Google, and many others.

This value proposition has come with an increase in enrollment, scholarships, and philanthropy. Enrollment of high ability high school students directly into the Huntsman School is up over 154% over the past five years. Over the same period, scholarship support provided by the school has increased by over 41% and overall philanthropy by over 51%.

Question 8 - Why do we need a curriculum change? Why new classes?

We live in a global, dynamic economy, and change is the one constant in our world. Our curriculum must keep pace with these changes in order to provide a relevant education. For example, marketing techniques have completely changed with the advent of social media and smartphones. Human capital management must take into account global workforces and diverse cultures. Operations must carefully align supply chains with markets around the world. In short, we want to prepare our students to meet the needs of tomorrow, not yesterday.

Question 9 - What percent of courses are affected for a typical student?

Differential tuition applies to approximately one-third of all courses taken in earning a bachelor’s degree. For the typical full-time student, differential tuition would apply to seven out of 10 courses per year during the junior and senior years, or 21 out of 30 credits per year.

Question 10 - Why should differential tuition cover new faculty hires? Shouldn’t that be paid for by the university, through regular tuition?

According to the 2016-17 Faculty Salary Survey for Four-Year Colleges and Universities by Discipline, Rank, and Tenure Status conducted by The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR), the average salary of a new assistant professor for all disciplines at a research institution is $78,221, whereas the average salary of a new assistant professor for Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Services is $136,503.

This cost premium is largely due to a shortage of business faculty relative to the demand for their services. Allocations from the university do pay for new faculty members, but they are not enough to recruit and retain the type of faculty members we want to bring to the Huntsman School. The gap in funding created by the need to recruit and retain outstanding faculty members versus available resources is the very driver for our need and proposal for increasing differential tuition.

Question 11 - What is the process for approval?

The President of Utah State University initially reviews the proposal. With their approval, the proposal is considered by the USU Board of Trustees. With their approval, the proposal is reviewed and approved by the Utah State Board of Regents. The Board of Regents is the approving authority for any tuition increase for public institutions. Please note that anyone seeking approval by either the USU Board of Trustees or the State Board of Regents must provide substantial documentation supporting their proposal.

Question 12 - Are students involved in the approval process?

Students are a vital stakeholder of the Huntsman School. The Huntsman School Differential Tuition Advisory Board is comprised of students, faculty, and staff. They review the use of differential tuition annually and recommend ways to allocate funds from future differential tuition flows.

Advisory Board

Advisory Board Charter

Meeting Minutes

December 5, 2017
January 25, 2018
October 8, 2018

Question 13 - Is there any concern about a drop in enrollment if the differential tuition increase is approved?

The Huntsman School provides a great value proposition. A dynamic and expanding curriculum, outstanding and dedicated faculty and staff, and engaged alumni and friends provide a great environment to set up our students for success. The resource provided by our students through differential tuition has enabled the school to create and provide curricular and experiential opportunities. Our current total tuition is still at a distinct price advantage relative to our peer public institutions across the region.

Question 14 - Will there ever be an increase?

This is hard to predict, primarily because we do not control state funding. However, we are optimistic about the future of the business school. We are very focused on our mission to deliver an outstanding business education to our students. We will continue to work with state legislators to find ways to better fund higher education, and to explore ways to create additional revenue streams.

Question 15 - How do scholarships and differential tuition relate?

We have worked diligently to increase the support provided through scholarships to help defray some of those costs of attending college. Scholarship support from the Huntsman School has increased 138% over the last ten years, with over $2.4 million in scholarships awarded by the Huntsman School for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Question 16 - Does differential tuition money go to support scholarships?

Tuition waivers for Presidential Scholars were implemented by USU to ensure that those students who merited full-tuition scholarships did not pay differential tuition. Some selected merit-based waivers of differential tuition for graduate students were adopted by the Huntsman School to support our professional programs. We have also provided some direct student stipends and grants; for example, in the form of travel grants, to support our SEED program. These are available to all students on a competitive basis.

Question 17 - Does differential tuition money go to support the Huntsman Scholar Program?

No. Differential tuition is not used to support the travel or scholarship grants of the Huntsman Scholar Program students. The Huntsman Scholar Program is funded by a generous donation by the Jon and Karen Huntsman Foundation and the Koch Foundation.

Question 18 - What about private funding?

We are grateful for the strong support from our alumni and friends. This generous support has helped fund Huntsman Hall, increased scholarship support almost ten-fold since 2007, and provided for program and faculty support.

Question 19 - Who can I contact with questions or concerns?

Dave PatelDave Patel

Associate Dean