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FILE - The Utah House on Tuesday passed HB349, which would make it easier for nonresident students attending Utah universities on "legacy scholarships" to establish residency.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah House on Tuesday passed HB349, which would make it easier for nonresident students attending Utah universities on "legacy scholarships" to establish residency.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Val Potter, R-North Logan, strikes language from 2009 legislation that created the tuition waivers extended to nonresident students whose parents or grandparents are alumni of participating institutions.

The existing statute says nonresident students cannot count the time during which they received the alumni nonresident scholarships toward establishing residency status.

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Potter said eliminating that language will encourage more students who are educated in Utah schools to settle down in Utah and become part of the state's workforce. Once the students establish residency, they are eligible for in-state tuition rates and are no longer part of the group that receives waivers of nonresident tuition.

The bill acknowledges concerns raised by the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee on the growing use of tuition waivers by state universities and colleges, Potter said.

The amount of tuition waived by public colleges and universities increased 70 percent from fiscal year 2014 to 2017, rising from $81 million in fiscal year 2014 to $138.1 million in fiscal year 2017, according to legislative fiscal analysts.