Include

Strategy #1 - Provide Accessible, Flexible, and Affordable Education in an Environment That is Inclusive for All

Two key components of UVU’s mission are:

  1. open admissions with support for all undergraduate students
  2. UVU’s dual mission, which combines the rigor and richness of a first-rate teaching university with the comprehensive programs of a community college. At the core of these commitments is the idea that everyone who wants to improve their lives should have access to quality education. Today, it is more important than ever that we provide a place where everyone, regardless of their background, identity, or life situation, can attend, feel accepted, and be supported to succeed.

Priority Initiatives

UVU students in quad

a. INCREASE ACCESSIBILITY TO AND FLEXIBILITY OF EDUCATION THROUGH A COORDINATED PHYSICAL AND DIGITAL PRESENCE

A key to student success is ensuring that students can enroll in the classes they need — when they need them, where they need them, and how they need them. UVU educates students at dozens of physical locations within the state of Utah and online throughout the world.

Broaden UVU Educational Offerings Across Delivery Modalities

Based on the UVU Facilities Master Plan approved by the Utah Board of Higher Education, UVU’s Orem Campus is the primary hub of academic, student support, athletic, and administrative activities. These services support university locations in Provo, Lehi, Vineyard, North Orem, and Wasatch County; a planned facility in Payson; and more than 50 high school concurrent enrollment and community partnership sites statewide. Additionally, UVU’s mostly undeveloped 225-acre site in Vineyard provides a great resource for supporting future growth. Through optimized course scheduling and an expansion of hybrid classes, these physical campuses will continue to provide students with flexible and robust offerings that keep them on track to complete their degrees.

A significant expansion of live-stream and online courses and continuous adoption of emerging technologies (cloud computing, data analytics, augmented reality, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and more) allow UVU to provide additional flexible and high-quality educational options. UVU offers dozens of academic programs fully online (including certificates and associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees) and will continue to grow the number of online programs. Retention indicators show that students taking a mix of course delivery modes have a 72% likelihood of persisting toward graduation — almost 10% higher than students enrolled in a single delivery mode. Expanding offerings across various delivery methods enhances flexibility, relevance, and learning.

Improve Access to Campuses

Utah County’s growth has been a major factor in UVU’s planning efforts. The Orem, Vineyard, Lehi, Provo, and (future) Payson campuses are easily accessible from I-15. As UVU’s Facilities Master Plan recognizes, thousands of UVU students commute from Salt Lake, Davis, and even Weber counties. Working closely with Utah Transit Authority (UTA) and local governments, UVU has planned and continues to plan for connectivity to a full range of multi-modal transportation systems, including expanded roadways, FrontRunner (light rail), UVX (bus rapid transit), future TRAX expansion, and active transportation (bike, pedestrian, and trail) systems.

FrontRunner and UVX

UVU’s Facilities Master Plan is built on a model using FrontRunner as a point of connectivity for UVU’s campuses. Through an agreement with UTA, UVU students, employees, and their dependents may ride UTA for free. The Orem Campus is served by UVX (UTA’s bus rapid transit line), connecting it to Orem and Provo transit hubs.

Pedestrian-friendly private student housing

While many UVU students live with family members, privately developed housing near the Orem and Vineyard campuses support living and learning opportunities for students seeking a residential university experience. UVU plans to continue expanding partnerships to provide affordable housing options on or near the Orem, Vineyard, and Wasatch campuses.

The above measures, combined with flexible educational and online offerings, will help stagger the flow of students physically accessing UVU’s campuses and reduce traffic and other pressures on neighborhoods and communities. These efforts support student success by reducing physical access barriers, such as traveling to campus and looking for parking, thus keeping students focused on learning.

b. STRENGTHEN CAMPUS INCLUSIVITY AND GROW THE ENROLLMENT AND COMPLETION RATES OF HISTORICALLY UNDERREPRESENTED STUDENTS

UVU is committed to fostering an environment where individuals of all backgrounds and identities feel equally valued and included. President Tuminez has invited all students to “come as you are — UVU is a place for you.” As a state and national leader in inclusion, UVU will continue to invest in strategic outreach to and support for students, faculty, and staff from all backgrounds, including those who have been historically underrepresented in American and Utah higher education.

Enhance the Cultural Competence of Students, Faculty, and Staff through Robust Curricula, Trainings, and Development Opportunities

Since the launch of UVU’s first inclusion initiative in 2014, UVU faculty, staff, students, and administrators have completed over 60 action steps to build a strong and welcoming community. UVU will expand access to professional development for faculty to create an inclusive and engaging curriculum through Global Intercultural (GI) certifications. UVU will expand, disseminate, and assess the cultural competency learning of staff and faculty through elective lectures, trainings, and workshops.

The Office of Institutional Engagement and Effectiveness (IEE) measures the progress of intercultural competency, celebrates success, and improves engagement initiatives. The IEE office will continue to provide access to analytics and dashboards to inform decision-making and strategic planning. It will create new communication channels across campus to ensure effective and efficient use of resources to meet Vision 2030 Include goals. Visit https://www.uvu.edu/engagement-and-effectiveness/ for more information.

Grow Resources, Services, and Support for Historically Underrepresented Students to Increase Enrollment, Persistence, and Completion

UVU seeks to increase enrollment, persistence, and completion of underrepresented students.

First-generation

Over 38% of UVU undergraduates are first-generation, or first in their families to complete a college degree. To continue supporting these students, UVU founded the First-Generation Student Success Center in 2020, which provides student outreach, support, mentoring, networking, leadership opportunities, and scholarships. UVU received two national distinctions for its first-generation student support (Suder Foundation First Scholars and First-Gen Forward Advisory Institution designation from NASPA—National Association of Student Personnel Administrators), UVU also received three federal grants to support first-generation K-16 access (GEAR UP, TRIO Upward Bound, and TRIO Educational Talent Search). These grant programs partner with 13 school districts that serve low-income and first-generation students in Utah.

BIPOC communities and eHSI designation

UVU has seen tremendous growth (180%) in the number and percentage of enrolled BIPOC (Black, indigenous, and people of color) students from 2008 (2,620 students or 8.6% of our student body) to 2018 (7,359 students or 18.4%). With the launch of multicultural initiatives (Latino, Native American, Pacific Islander, African Diaspora, Asian), UVU is working to increase enrollment, retention, and completion for students of color by 2% annually. These efforts are aligned with the access and completion goals of the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE). In addition, UVU has a goal to become an Emerging Hispanic Serving Institution (eHSI) — a federal designation for higher education institutions that have between 15% and 24% of total full-time enrolled students who self-identify as Hispanic. UVU currently sits at 12.2%, with consistent growth each year.

Adult learners

UVU currently serves over 8,000 adult learners and has established a campus-wide Adult Learner Initiative. Specific academic support for these learners — e.g., competency-based education and credit for prior learning — is addressed in the Achieve section below. In addition to these efforts, UVU has developed services to help adult learners successfully navigate the university and complete a credential. UVU will also expand daycare options and family-friendly programming for students with children.

Establish UVU as a National Model for Basic Needs Support and a Well-Being Continuum

UVU launched a series of programs to address student well-being, focused on food insecurity, housing insecurity, mental health, and safety. UVU utilizes a well-being continuum focused on an integrative health care approach. Programming and resources are focused on early intervention, such as partnering with the national organization Trula Campus, providing peer-to-peer coaching for students, embedding well-being in the academic curriculum, and providing basic need resources through the Coordinated Access to Resources and Education (CARE) Hub. Some students may need to be referred to resources through departments such as the CARE Team, Office of Student Rights and Accountability, or the SAFE UT 24/7 Crisis Triage. If medical treatment is needed to address well-being, Student Health Services provides psychiatric, medical, psychological, and crisis services. The goal is to help students maintain their well-being by expanding student support systems, providing students with social connectedness experiences, and normalizing health-seeking behaviors.

c. Sustain our commitment to affordability, value, and return on investment

UVU is recognized as a state and national leader in educational value, including best return on investment, low net price for families with earnings below $75,000, and high alumni earnings one year after graduation. National and state leaders are recognizing what UVU has long been committed to — a high return on each dollar invested in a UVU education.

Supporting student growth and meeting the workforce needs of our service region pose a resource challenge. UVU will continue to maintain affordability for students and Utah taxpayers through well-planned strategies to use resources wisely, operate effectively, and secure private resources.

Demonstrate Effective Use of Tax Funds

UVU has created value for taxpayers through cost-effective management of the university, including prioritizing, allocating, and reallocating resources. From 2011 to 2021, UVU decreased its tax fund expenditure per award granted by 21%, producing more graduates at less cost. Faced with increasing enrollments, UVU must continue to:

  • Use assessment and accountability metrics to ensure strategic prioritization and wise use of new and existing resources
  • Secure an appropriate balance of new tax funds to support growth (adequacy funding) and to reward achievement of USHE’s strategic goals (performance-based funding)

Maintain Low Tuition and Fee Rates

Utah has the fourth-lowest tuition and fees among four-year public colleges and universities in the nation, and UVU has the second-lowest rate for tuition and fees among Utah’s four-year institutions. Even so, affordability is an area of concern for Utahns. Fiscal vigilance is necessary to minimize tuition and fee increases. To ensure affordable access, UVU will:

  • Maintain undergraduate tuition and fee rates within the USHE standard of affordability
  • Implement strategies, including resource reallocation and cost savings, to reduce student course fees
  • Evaluate graduate tuition rates against similar programs at other USHE institutions

Increase Access to Need-Based Grants and Scholarships

UVU serves a large percentage of first-generation, low socioeconomic, and underrepresented populations of students who, without financial assistance, may be unable to pursue their higher education goals. UVU’s goals to remedy these issues include the following:

  • Increase the number and percentage of students applying for FAFSA and receiving Pell Grants
  • Increase private funding for student scholarships and need-based financial aid
  • Refine and align Pell Grant gap scholarship programs, including UVU’s Wolverine Pathways and USHE’s Utah Promise Scholarship