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Differential Tuition

Students taking business courses are charged differential tuition beyond USU tuition. This tuition is approved by the President of Utah State University, the USU Board of Trustees, and the State of Utah Board of Regents.

All current tuition and fees for USU are provided in the 2019-20 Tuition and Fee Schedule. Differential tuition is charged per credit hour.

  • Undergraduate lower division (1000 & 2000-level courses) - $2.04 per credit hour
  • Undergraduate upper division (3000, 4000 & 5000-level courses) - $160.17 per credit hour
  • Graduate (6000 & 7000-level courses) - $478.46 per credit hour

Question 1 - Why does the Huntsman School charge differential tuition?

Almost 80 percent of differential tuition funds are used to cover salary costs for faculty and staff. This is mainly due to ever increasing demand for business faculty. According to the 2018-2019 Faculty in Higher Education Survey conducted by The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, average salaries for faculty in business disciplines are 74% higher than for faculty outside of business disciplines.

Additionally, enrollment growth in the Huntsman School has far outpaced enrollment growth across USU. For example, total enrollment increase from 2010-2019 for the Huntsman School is 18 percent, compared to 7 percent for USU. The undergraduate enrollment increase for the Huntsman School for the same period is 23 percent, versus 11 percent for USU, and the enrollment growth for first-time freshmen is 214 percent for the Huntsman School, versus 28 percent for USU.

Rising enrollment necessitate the hiring of more faculty and professional staff, to teach more classes and to serve our students more effectively. Largely as a result of differential tuition, we have been able to provide funds to augment salary offers, or to hire new faculty solely on differential tuition monies. Since 2007, we have hired 85 new faculty members.

Apart from faculty salaries, the largest portion of differential tuition monies has been used to create and support cross-disciplinary, experiential programs, with faculty and staff who roll up their sleeves and work with students to provide real-world learning experiences. We believe experiential programs complement classroom instruction, and due funding from differential tuition, our students have benefitted from tailored career development services, our entrepreneurship and leadership centers, and our award-winning student clubs.

Question 2 - How are differential tuition funds used?

As authorized by the State of Utah Board of Regents, differential tuition is used to cover costs associated with the following:

  • Salaries for Huntsman School faculty and staff
  • New and existing student experiential programs
  • Administrative infrastructure and operating expenses

Salaries and benefits: The vast majority of differential tuition funds go to pay faculty. For FY20, 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 primarily faculty research and development, including software and research databases, branding and marketing for the Huntsman School, and student wages.

The use of differential tuition is governed by the same rules and oversight from the university controller’s office as regular tuition. The below table details the allocation of funds per those categories for the past fiscal year (FY). Please note that all financial data is independently audited annually through the USU Office of Budget & Finance.

Differential Tuition Expeses FY 2019

Question 3 - What is the allocation process for differential tuition funds?

The Dean of the School directs the use of differential tuition funds in accordance with permitted use and in consultation with department and unit leaders. An advisory committee comprised of students, faculty, and staff from the Huntsman School also meets to discuss needs, use, and to provide recommendations. The actions of the committee and dean are governed by a charter for the Huntsman School Differential Tuition Advisory Board. Meeting minutes of this group are provided here:

Question 4 - How does tuition for the Huntsman School compare to other schools?

It is important to note that the cost comparison is between business programs at different universities rather than the tuition cost at Huntsman versus other colleges within USU. That is because the largest expenditure of differential tuition funds is for faculty recruiting and retention, and we compete for faculty with other business schools, not with other disciplines within USU, so for example, we compete to hire a new accounting professor with the Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. We do not compete with the Caine College of Art or the College of Science.

To demonstrate the cost impact compared to other schools of business, we selected competitive peer institutions, competitive western land grant institutions, and other regional public institutions.

Tuition Cost Comparison Per Semester

Institution Base Tuition University Fees Differential Tuition Total Cost
University of Arizona $5,649 $696 $450 $6,795
Arizona State University $5,355 $314 $262 $5,931
Colorado State University $4,713 $1,236 $475 $6,424
University of Colorado $8,016 $887 Included $8,903
University of Nebraska $3,780 $948 $300 $5,028
Washington State University $7,882 $665 Included $8,547
University of Utah $4,168 $623 $1,220 $6,011
Utah State University $3,274 $555 $800 $4,629

Please note that the above data is calculated for a typical undergraduate, full-time (15 credits), resident student for one semester, based on published data for academic year 2019-2020. Students must successfully complete 120 credits to graduate from USU. In the Huntsman School, on average, differential tuition applies to one-third of those credits. As such, the differential tuition calculation is based on 5 of the 15 credits as differential-applied business credits, so for example, for the Huntsman School, $160 of differential tuition per credit multiplied by five credits equals $800. Again, exact costs will vary from student to student, from semester to semester, depending on individual circumstances.

Question 5 - What is the school doing to help mitigate tuition costs?

Since 2007 when differential tuition was first instituted in the Huntsman School, we have made a concerted effort to step up the level of financial assistance provided to students. Our donors have responded enthusiastically to the call to help students mitigate the increasing costs of a business education and scholarship support has increased dramatically. In 2006, the school provided $203,000 in annual scholarship support. Since then, the amount of scholarships awarded each year by the Huntsman School has risen to over $3 million annually, more than fifteen times what was awarded when differential tuition was first implemented.

The overall impact of this generous support from our donors is worth mentioning. The total tuition, including differential tuition, for eight semesters, based on actual average cost for Fall, 2018, for 1,446 undergraduate, resident, full-time students in the Huntsman School, is $39,048. The actual total tuition paid, net of scholarships, for the same population, is $28,208. Put another way, the scholarship support provided by the Huntsman School reduces average total tuition by almost 28 percent.

Question 6 - Who can I contact with questions or concerns?

We hope our students understand and appreciate the value proposition provided by the Huntsman School. The rigor provided by top-notch faculty in highly competitive academic programs, the numerous experiential activities provided by faculty and dedicated, student-focused professional staff, and the impact of incredible student peers are leading to more and better placement opportunities in highly selective graduate programs and with globally recognized companies. In turn, this dynamic is noticed by high school students and their parents, leading to annual double-digit percent increases in enrollment.

You may contact the USUSA Business Senator at or Huntsman School Associate Dean Dave Patel at