The Utah Higher Education AmeriCorps Network will help decrease the gap towards debt-free college pathways for students who commit to serve.
Utah, December 1, 2022 – Today, eleven programs from seven public higher education institutions in the state have joined Janell C. Torres, Director of the Utah Higher Education AmeriCorps Network, to relaunch the largest state-level investment in college service programming in Utah history. UHEAN announced the 7 colleges and universities selected as established partners for the service-based college opportunity program for the 2022-2023 Year.
“Utah strives to be a leader in both higher education and service,” said Janell Torres, “the Higher Education AmeriCorps Network advances these priorities by connecting Utahns of different backgrounds with enriching service opportunities throughout the state while making college more affordable for our state’s future leaders.”
UHEAN provides more than 700 college students every academic year with service opportunities in critical issue areas such as K-12 education, healthcare, and capacity building in non-profits, community organizations, and public agencies. Students who complete 4 terms of service will on average receive up to $6,000 while gaining valuable experience serving in their communities. This program will unite Utahns of all backgrounds in service.
Campuses and programs representing community college and public university systems from Logan to St. George have been selected as program participants via a competitive grant application process. The full list of current programs can be found here.
“This is a monumental proposal to the next generation of Utahns— if you step up to serve your community, we’ll help you pay for college,” said Janell.
Collectively, Utahns owe more than $10.2 billion dollars in student debt with low income, first generation, and not traditional students facing the highest likelihood of using loans to get through school.
Of Utah’s college class of 2020, 39% graduated with debt, and only 3% took on private debt — the lowest percentages in the country, according to a report from the Institute for College Access & Success, UHEAN would like to see these percentages decrease even further.
Geoffrey T. Landward, deputy commissioner of the Utah System of Higher Education, stated to the Salt Lake Tribune in August, “We’re glad people can get some relief from the debt loads that they have, but we’re really working hard toward finding ways to make college more affordable in the first place.”
UHEAN is prioritizing this program as part of an effort to lead the state in service-centered paths, relieving the debt burden on our recent graduates while moving the state forward with service-focused careers.
Utah’s private non-profit colleges and universities have prioritized student aid over the past few years as costs for students have soared nationwide some even going as far as to stall raising tuition rates. Our colleges and universities have also historically prioritized service to the communities their students live and learn in. UHEAN’s College Fellowship marries these goals seamlessly and helps fill in financial aid gaps faced by many of our students while continuing the goal of serving our state in the areas of greatest need.
For more information about the UHEAN College Fellowship Program visit www.uhean.org.
The Utah Higher Education AmeriCorps Network is an AmeriCorps program within the portfolio of programs managed by UServeUtah. To learn more about AmeriCorps programming in Utah visit https://userve.utah.gov/utahamericorps/