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Education is consistently ranked as one of Utah’s top priorities among citizens, business leaders and policymakers.

Boasting the nation’s youngest population, the education and training of Utah’s youth is both a challenge and an opportunity. Governor Gary Herbert has made education a top priority of his administration, and is working with educators, business executives and community leaders to develop the next generation into a dynamic, educated workforce.


  • Education is a top priority for Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s administration.
  • 10: Utah has 10 public and three Utah-based private universities and colleges.
  • Utah research universities have been extremely effective at commercializing promising technologies.
  • 90%: Approximately 90 percent of Utahns have earned at least a high school degree.
  • #1: The University of Utah ranked first in 2010 and 2011 for the number of start-ups powered by technology developed by faculty at a U.S. university. In 2012 the U took the #2 spot behind none other than MIT.

K-12 Education

Utah has a larger portion of its population in the 5-17 school age group (22 percent) than any other state. Utah boasts a network of public and private schools that offer high-quality primary and secondary education to students across the state. Utah has 41 public school districts; about 1,000 schools; and nearly 600,000 students. The state has nearly 26,000 teachers and a pupil/teacher ratio of 22.80.

Literacy and Numeracy

Percentage of Students Proficient on the Language Arts CRTs

Elementary           Secondary
2006                           78%                          78%
2007                          77%                          80%
2008                          77%                          80%
2009                          78%                           81%
2010                          78%                           84%
Source: Utah State Office of Education
*CRTs = Criterion Reference Tests

Percentage of Students Proficient on the Math CRTs

Elementary           Secondary
2009                         71%                           58%
2010                         75%                           58%
Source: Utah State Office of Education
*CRTs = Criterion Reference Tests

Students in Concurrent Enrollment

2004-05                 26,680
2005-06                 27,396
2006-07                 27,967
2007-08                 28,277
2008-09                 27,444
Source: Utah State Office of Education

Educational Attainment Highlights

  • Utah’s graduation rate is above the national average.
  • Graduation rates increased by 7 percent from 2008 to 2011.
  • Dropout rates decreased by 8 percent from 2008 to 2011.
  • 31,411 students graduated in 2011.
  • The percentage of graduates has noticeably increased over the past four years for some subgroups. For example, English language learners’ graduation rates have increased from 16 percent to 45 percent, and economically disadvantaged students’ graduation rates have increased from 54 percent to 63 percent. Total minority graduation rates have increased for the past four years.
  • 20,449 students took 33,017 AP exams, passing at a rate of 68 percent.
  • 97 percent of high school seniors took the ACT in 2012.

Educational Attainment

  • Total population over age 25                        1,503,241
  • Less than 9th grade                                           47,473
  • 9th to 12th grade, no diploma                      93,891
  • High school graduate                                       373,409
  • Some college, no degree                                 407,938
  • Associate’s degree                                             138,241
  • Bachelor’s degree                                               299,160
  • Graduate or professional degree                 143,129

Largest School Districts in Utah

  • Jordan School District                                    81,485
  • Granite School District                                   70,166
  • Davis County School District                       66,614
  • Alpine School District                                     62,281

School Enrollment

  • Population 3 years and over enrolled in school          859,875
  • Nursery school, preschool                                                    53,645
  • Kindergarten                                                                               46,993
  • Elementary school (grades 1-8)                                         353,421
  • High school (grades 9-12)                                                     171,404
  • College or graduate school                                                   234,412

Median Student-Teacher Ratio

  • 21.92      School District Median
  • 20.72     Charter Median
  • 21.80      State Median

Public Charter Schools

There are currently 84 charter schools in Utah serving over 40,000 students. Each charter school student gets approximately $5,800. The combined total of the charter school population equals the fifth largest school district in the state. Even at that number, the demand outpaces the supply; approximately 10,000 children are wait-listed statewide every year.

Charter Schools by the Numbers

  • 78 charter schools
  • 70 charter schools authorized by the Utah State Board of Education
  • 3 charter schools authorized by Salt Lake City School District
  • 2 charter schools authorized by Logan City School District
  • 1 charter school authorized by Cache County School District
  • 1 charter school authorized by Iron County School District
  • 1 charter school authorized by Jordan School District
  • 40,121 charter students

Charter School Demographics

  • 16.8% Ethnic minority students
  • 11.54% Special education students
  • 27.6% Economically disadvantaged students

Private Schools

Utah is home to nearly 130 private and parochial schools that educate approximately 20,000 students.

  • 10 Christian schools
  • 1 Episcopal school
  • 15 Roman Catholic schools
  • 14 Montessori schools

Higher Education

Students pursuing higher education have a diverse and compelling set of educational options to choose from. A wide range of public and private institutions cater to a broad variety of academic interests and career goals.

  • Applied Technology Education Utah’s applied technology schools provide highly specialized education and training that have created a robust workforce for industry needs. In 2001, the state launched the Utah College of Applied Technology (UCAT), which provides official Applied Technology Education (ATE) programs.
  • Colleges and Universities Utah has a robust and dynamic set of colleges and universities that offer a variety of educational programs and degrees.
  • Utah students are served by three public community colleges: College of Eastern Utah – Utah State University (Price) Salt Lake Community College (Salt Lake City) Snow College (Ephraim)
  • Utah colleges and universities offer many bachelor’s degree programs: Southern Utah University (Cedar City) Dixie University (St. George) Utah Valley State University (Orem) Weber State University (Ogden) Westminster College (Salt Lake City; private)
  • Utah has three major Ph.D.-level research universities: University of Utah (Salt Lake City) Brigham Young University (Provo; private) Utah State University (Logan)

2012 College Enrollment Numbers

College                                              Full-time Faculty        2012 Enroll.      2011 Enroll.
Brigham Young University                        DND                    33,336              32,980
Dixie State University                                  170                     8,863                 9,086
Salt Lake Community College                    DND                   30,112               33,167
Snow College                                                    DND                    4,599                 4,465
Southern Utah University                          DND                    8,297                7,750
University of Utah                                         1,343                  32,398              31,673
Utah College of Applied Technology      507                    39,377             41,492
Utah State University                                   DND                    28,786             28,994
Utah Valley University                                552                     31,556              33,395
Weber State University                               481                      26,681              25,483
Western Governors University                854                     36,000             30,000
Westminster College                                     145                     3,300                3,300

Higher Education Highlights

  • 70 percent of BYU students are fluent in a second language.
  • BYU boasts the 15th-largest study abroad program in the country.
  • University of Utah has a top-25 MBA program.
  • University of Utah ranked No. 1 in the number of spinoff companies produced in 2010 and 2011.
  • Southern Utah University and Utah State University both ranked among the Princeton Review’s 150 Best Value colleges for 2012.
  • SLCC Ranked No. 3 in the nation for associate degrees obtained during 2012.

Industry Collaboration

Prosperity 2020
Business, community and education leaders have formalized an unprecedented partnership to enhance educational performance and place Utah on the path to enduring prosperity. The movement is called Prosperity 2020 and it sets ambitious goals for public and higher education over the next decade.

Three Big Goals by 2018

  • 66 percent of Utahns will hold postsecondary degrees or training.
  • 90 percent of elementary students will be proficient in reading and math.
  • Utah will be a top 10 state for STEM jobs.

Utah Science Technology and Research

The Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) was established in 2006 through the leadership and vision of the Utah Legislature and the Governor to leverage science and technology innovation in support of Utah’s economy. The initial focus of USTAR was recruiting world-class faculty to the state’s research universities, the University of Utah (U of U) and Utah State University (USU). The recruitments expanded expertise in the areas of life science, renewable and traditional energy, nano and microelectronics and big data. USTAR invested significantly in unique shared facilities, such as a nanofabrication facility, the only bio hazard 3+ facility in the state and a life science incubator. In addition to expanding the capacity at the research universities, USTAR established a statewide Technology Outreach Program that focuses on technology development, mentoring and collaboration to strengthen the technology ecosystem in the state.

The USTAR Outreach team is designed as a resource to assist innovators and entrepreneurs, connecting them with resources across the state that offer incubation, acceleration, and other training or services that they need to flourish as a new business. They also connect them with investors across the state, helping maximize business potential.

USTAR is a catalyst for creating new and advanced technology and science companies, bolstering the economy and keeping the state vibrant and competitive.

USTAR Vision: Utah will lead the nation as the best performing economy, and be recognized as a premier global destination*.

USTAR Mission: Create a technology ecosystem that enables ideas to seed, grow, and thrive. USTAR’s diverse portfolio of investments will:

  1. Recruit and retain top researchers to the State’s research universities
  2. Support tech entrepreneurs through training, funding, incubator and accelerator programs
  3. Broker technology transfer by connecting capital, management and industry
    *Adapted from Governor Herbert’s vision for the state’s economy

USTAR Focus Areas Include:

  1. Automation and Robotics – Automation technology provides engineered solutions, utilizing leading edge technology for simple and complex industrial applications. Robotics is the branch of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, electronic engineering and computer science that deals with the design, construction, operation and application of robots, as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback and information processing.
  2. Advanced Materials – Advanced materials include methods of developing, manufacturing, or applying synthetic or advanced materials to improve the human/environment interaction. This includes precision manufacturing, new materials, carbon composites, and 3D printing advances and outdoor product technology such as climate control, solar technology, water purification, sports, and recreation equipment and textiles.
  3. Energy and Clean Technology – This sector encompasses a diverse range of products, services, and processes that harness renewable and non-renewable materials and energy sources to dramatically reduce the use of natural resources, cut or eliminate emissions and waste, and provide options for efficient energy storage. Includes renewable energy development, energy storage, power generation, energy efficiency, smart grids, waste to energy, water management, alternative fuels, emissions reductions, and alternative transportation.
  4. Life Sciences – The Life Science sector includes scientific advancements that focus on improving the quality and standard of life. This includes but is not limited to, medical device manufacturing and services, research and testing, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, agriculture and healthcare IT.


Education Agencies

Utah State Office of Education
250 E. 500 South
PO Box 144200
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
Phone: (801) 538-7500

Utah Education Network

Utah Education Association
875 E. 5180 South
Murray, UT 84107-5299
Phone: 801-266-4461
Toll Free: 800-594-8996
Fax: 801-265-2249