The number of engineering and computer science degrees earned in Utah continues to rise, thanks in part to the Engineering and Computer Technology Initiative. In 2001, the State Legislature established this initiative within the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE), which aimed to increase the number of students graduating from engineering, computer science and related technology programs. The initiative’s annual report was presented to the Board of Regents at their January 2016 meeting in Salt Lake City.
Since the initiative began, a total of 29,464 engineering and computer science degrees have been awarded, resulting in a positive cumulative impact for the state. The number of engineering degrees awarded has increased 80% since 2000, and the number of computer science degrees awarded has increased 130%.
Degrees in Engineering and Computer Science, 2000 vs 2015
When the initiative was first established, the legislation defined how the funds should be used:
- Triple the number of graduates from USHE institutions in engineering, computer science, and related technology.
- Increase capacity, purchase necessary equipment and establish new degree programs that improve the quality of instructional programs in engineering, computer science, and related technologies.
- Provide student scholarships to encourage enrollment in engineering, computer science, and related technology programs.
- Hire and retain qualified faculty to teach in initiative programs.
The initiative saw its single largest increase in state funds during the 2015 Legislative session, with $3,500,000 of ongoing funds and $1,000,000 of one-time funds appropriated to the initiative for distribution to USHE institutions commencing with the 2015- 2016 fiscal year.