Utah Valley State College can make the change to university status after the Board of Regents gave its final approval Friday.

It was the last step for UVSC to officially become Utah Valley University.

"It's been a long road for UVSC," said Interim Commissioner of Higher Education Dave Buhler. "There's a lot of history behind this vote."

Talk of making the switch began in 2005 when UVSC dropped the "college" part of its name and administrators began talking with legislators to make the change. The Legislature ended up approving the switch in the 2007 session, allocating the first $3 million of an estimated $10 million required to make the change.

This year, legislators voted to make good on the promise and funded the remainder needed to facilitate the name change. A new mission statement was approved by regents in December.

"We're very grateful to legislators for doing the right thing and putting the money behind it to make it happen," Buhler said. State approval allowed regents to further consider proposed growth for the college.

Action by the regents is necessary in order to reflect the name and status change in Policy R312, which includes classification for all of Utah's public colleges and universities. The policy was adopted in 2003 and requires regents to "review institutional roles and missions every five years in light of the educational needs and resources in the state of Utah."

New classification as one of the state's "Master's Colleges and Universities" allows UVU to begin offering master's degrees, requiring them to issue at least 50 each year and fewer than 20 doctoral degrees per year. The school will have 10 years to meet the requirement, as it takes a couple of years to cycle people through a brand-new program.

Various colleges within UVSC also underwent name changes, reflecting the part of the university they will be. Name changes include the School of Academics, which will be called University College, as well as School of Science and Health, now known as the College of Health and Science, similarly for the current schools of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Technology and Computing, Applied Technology and Construction, Computing and Engineering, Aviation Science, Emergency Services and Culinary Arts.

In addition to all the surface-level changes, students will be paying 6.3 percent more in tuition than in previous years, or $3,188 per year for full-time credit.

A name change approval, reclassification and new mission statement completes the college's status overhaul. UVSC will celebrate becoming a university in a two-day "UVU-phoria" event June 30 and July 1, when "UVU" will take effect.

"It's Cougar town, but Wolverine County," said Val Hale, assistant vice president for external affairs at UVSC. He said thousands of university flags will not only dot the campus but will spill over into the surrounding community, flying at businesses and homes interested in showing support of the long-awaited name change.


E-mail: wleonard@desnews.com