2021 Bills

HB 139: Government Employees Can Skip College

To track the status of this bill, find it on our Legislation Tracker. Click here to contact the sponsor of the bill to share your thoughts, or click here to email your Senator and Representative about it.

Libertas Institute supports this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it aligns with our principles and should therefore be passed into law.

In decades past, organizations have required a college degree as a minimum prerequisite for employment. This criterion has become fairly standardized, leading more individuals to college who might otherwise not need to attend.

Especially in recent years, numerous alternative options have become popularized that allow individuals to obtain an education or actual experience outside of higher education. And with rising costs making attendance even more difficult, these alternatives are quite enticing and make financial and practical sense.

Representative Norm Thurston is sponsoring House Bill 139 to require government agencies in Utah to abandon the default requirement of a college degree for employment. The bill says that such agencies cannot prescribe a “minimum educational requirement for employment, except when [it] is legally required to perform the duties of the position.”

The agencies are also required to consider comparable experience or ability as an equivalent to education, and they must ensure that the job descriptions they post for applicants to review are “based on the specific skills and competencies required to perform those jobs.”

In other words, state and local governments in Utah would abandon the default requirement in recognition that today’s economy provides ample opportunity to obtain education and experience outside the costly higher education system. This is an innovative bill that would also set an example for the private market and further encourage a culture shift that is reflective of our changing economy.