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UVU will be ready when missionaries come home

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uvuUtah Valley University is poised for a new boom — the Student Life and Wellness Center was recently completed, the new 244,000-square-foot Classroom Building is on track to be finished this fall, the roundabout at UVU’s entrance is being improved and the school got $21 million in new ongoing funding from the state this year.

When The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints lowered the age for missionaries in fall 2012 — from 19 to 18 for men and 21 to 19 for women — it increased the number of missionaries serving, and decreased the number of students in Utah’s colleges and universities. But after those first few years post-announcement, that decrease will level out and those schools will face an influx of students who return home from their missions.

“UVU has been in a lull with the LDS missionary population but it’s poised to boom when they come back,” Cameron Martin, UVU’s vice president of university relations told a group of business leaders on Tuesday.

The Classroom Building will be ready when those missionaries start re-enrolling in school, and UVU will be gearing up staff to fill the building and accommodate the growing student population.

“It’s a significant number of faculty members we’ll be hiring across campus,” Martin said. “We have to have appropriate credentialed experts and professors to teach. We’ll be hiring a lot of faculty advisers as we identify programs with the most need to grow.”

But the school will continue to keep tuition as low as possible, he said, and the $21 million in new funding — called equity funding — will help. The Legislature appropriated $50 million in ongoing equity funding to higher education, to try to even out discrepancies in per-student funding at state schools. UVU currently gets $3,268 in tax funds per student, and the new funding will increase that to $4,361.

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