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Online and On-Campus Colleges in ARIZONA

Article Sources
  • School pages, accessed March 28, 2018: About the University, The University of Arizona, http://www.arizona.edu/about; Undergraduate Majors, The University of Arizona, http://www.arizona.edu/majors; UA Bridge, The University of Arizona, http://admissions.arizona.edu/how-to-apply/transfer/ua-bridge; Arizona State University Enrollment Figures, Arizona State University, https://www.asu.edu/about/enrollment; Academic Degrees and Programs, Arizona State University, https://www.asu.edu/about/enrollment; Academics Overview, Northern Arizona University, https://nau.edu/academics; Online University Courses, Northern Arizona University, https://nau.edu/online-paths-to-a-better-future/; Campus Locations, Northern Arizona University, https://nau.edu/campus-locations/; ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus: A 10-Year History, Arizona State University, https://cronkite.asu.edu/asu-downtown-phoenix-campus-history; Downtown Phoenix Campus, Arizona State University, https://www.asu.edu/about/colleges-and-schools/downtown-phoenix; ASU's New Beus Center for Law and Society in Downtown Phoenix named after longtime philanthropists, Arizona State University, https://law.asu.edu/asulaw-newsletter/beus-open; Arizona State University West Campus, Arizona State University, https://campus.asu.edu/west/; West Campus Transfer Center, Arizona State University, https://newcollege.asu.edu/transfer; Transfer Fridays, Arizona State University, https://transfer.asu.edu/friday/week; Maricopa to ASU Pathways Program (MAPP), Arizona State University, https://transfer.asu.edu/maricopa/maricopa-county-community-college-district/mapp%2Brn -- -bsn; Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus, Arizona State University, https://campus.asu.edu/polytechnic; Our History, Grand Canyon University, https://www.gcu.edu/about-gcu/history-of-gcu.php; Online Degree Programs, Grand Canyon University, https://www.gcu.edu/future-students/online-degree-programs.php; Degree Programs, Grand Canyon University, https://www.gcu.edu/degree-programs/all; Academic Policies & Accreditations, Grand Canyon University, https://www.gcu.edu/academics/academic-policies.php; Fast Facts, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, https://news.erau.edu/media-resources/fast-facts/; College of Aviation, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, http://prescott.erau.edu/college-aviation/index.html; GSIS Spy Camp, Summer Camps, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, http://summercamps.erau.edu/camps/gsis-spy-camp.html; History, Values & Vision, Prescott College, http://www.prescott.edu/explore/history-values-vision/index.php; Housing for Prescott College Students, Prescott College, http://www.prescott.edu/experience/studentlife/residence-life/housing-about.php; Sustainability, Prescott College, http://www.prescott.edu/sustainability/; Prescott City Statistics, Prescott College, http://www.prescott.edu/explore/city-prescott/prescott-city-stats.php; Nursing School in Phoenix, Arizona, Chamberlain University, http://www.chamberlain.edu/nursing-school/arizona/phoenix; 125 Year History, Chamberlain University, http://www.chamberlain.edu/about/history; Online Nursing Degrees & More, Chamberlain University, http://www.chamberlain.edu/academics;
  • 2017 World University Rankings, Center for World University Rankings, accessed March 28, 2018, http://cwur.org/2017.php
  • Higher Education, U.S. News and World Report, accessed March 28, 2018: Overall Rankings, University of Arizona, https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/university-of-arizona-104179/overall-rankings; Arizona State University -- West, https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/asu-west-666935; Prescott College, https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/prescott-college-29022;
  • Largest Universities in the United States by Enrollment, WorldAtlas, accessed March 28, 2018, https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/largest-universities-in-the-united-states.html
  • Our Members, Association of American Universities, accessed March 28, 2018, https://www.aau.edu/who-we-are/our-members
  • 21 Liberal Arts Colleges With the Lowest Student-Faculty Ratios, U.S. News and World Report, Jordan Friedman, April 19, 2016, accessed March 28, 2018, https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/the-short-list-college/articles/2016-04-19/21-liberal-arts-colleges-with-the-lowest-student-faculty-ratios
  • Phoenix Museums, Visit Phoenix, accessed March 28, 2018, https://www.visitphoenix.com/things-to-do/arts-culture/museums/
  • AZTransfer, accessed April 25, 2017: About, http://www.aztransfer.com/about/; University of Arizona, http://www.aztransfer.com/ua/; Arizona State University, http://www.aztransfer.com/asu/; Northern Arizona University, http://www.aztransfer.com/nau/;
  • Highest Enrollment, Fast Facts, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed April 25, 2017, https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=74
  • Available Grants, Arizona Student Financial Aid Programs, accessed April 25, 2017, https://azgrants.az.gov/available-grants
  • Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2015-16, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
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If you're an Arizona student looking for the right place to earn your degree, it can be difficult to know which of the state's colleges and universities might be best suited to help you reach your academic goals. The Arizona Board of Regents administers the state's public university system, which consists of Arizona's three largest campus-based universities and their satellite campuses. Outside of the state system, Arizona is home to one of the largest universities by enrollment in the world — the University of Phoenix, a far-reaching online institution — and a few very small, specialized colleges.

You'll also need to know that some schools participate in AZTransfer agreements, which allow students of Arizona community colleges to make a low-stress shift from their two-year programs into university institutions. So where should you start your search for a four-year school? Check out our research-based list.

Best 4-Year Colleges in Arizona

Sorting out the best colleges and universities in Arizona requires a hard look at statistics on affordability, academic success, student support services, financial aid availability and more. Click the methodology button for more info on how we analyzed these Arizona schools, and read on to find out who made the cut. When you're done here, you can check out our rankings for the best community colleges in Arizona.

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Methodology
1University of Arizona+
ADMISSION RATE
79%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Recommended
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
42

This Tucson school is home to some of the highest-rated degree programs among Arizona colleges. The University of Arizona's graduate degrees in Earth sciences, photography, atomic physics, rehabilitation counseling and information systems all rank among the ten best programs nationwide in their subjects, with online courses available in many.

It's earned accolades on the global scale, as well -- the Center for World University rankings placed UA among the top 75 universities in the world on its 2017 report. UA is also a member of the Association of American Universities, a prestigious group of around 60 research institutions that includes Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Duke and other top-tier schools.

UA also makes it easy for community college students to transfer into one of their more than 240 bachelor's programs. The UA Bridge program provides an admissions guarantee, pre-transfer admissions counseling, scholarships for eligible students and more.

Additional Info
2Arizona State University - Tempe Campus+
ADMISSION RATE
83%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
14

The flagship location of Arizona State University is the largest campus by enrollment among the top schools in Arizona. More than 51,000 students attend classes on the Tempe campus, making it not only the most populous university in the state but earning it a spot among the top ten largest in the country.

The selection of degree programs available here is about as robust and diverse as you'd expect from a school of its size -- more than 430 undergraduate programs are available on campus and as online courses, and graduate students have more than 500 options at the master's and doctoral levels.

ASU makes a case for itself as one of the top colleges and universities in Arizona for online students, as well, thanks to its total of more than 180 undergraduate and graduate online programs.

Additional Info
3Northern Arizona University+
ADMISSION RATE
78%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Recommended
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
77

Northern Arizona University was founded in 1899, when Arizona was still a U.S. territory. This accredited institution in the mountain town of Flagstaff offers approximately 200 degree programs in total, including study plans in valuable but traditionally uncommon subjects like forestry, civic engagement and applied indigenous studies.

A vast variety of online degrees awaits NAU students who want to use the virtual classroom for online courses. A few of the nearly 90 bachelor's, master's and certificate programs have special admissions criteria, so be sure to meet with an advisor before jumping in.

NAU also maintains numerous satellite campuses around the state. The list of 25 campus locations features outposts in the Phoenix metro area, the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona and small towns such as Thatcher and Show Low.

Additional Info
4Arizona State University - Downtown Campus+
ADMISSION RATE
77%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
1

The Downtown campus of Arizona State University has only been in business for a little over ten years, but it's made great strides since opening its doors. Enrollment went from zero to nearly 12,000 between 2006 and 2016, and close to 170 degrees and certificates can be earned through its seven colleges and schools.

One of the most prestigious departments at ASU -- the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication -- was the first new building built at the Downtown site. It also recently became the home base for the university's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law.

What's more, students at ASU Downtown are less than two miles away from major cultural centers. Take in classic and contemporary art at the Phoenix Art Museum, Native American and Hispanic art and culture at the Heard Museum and interactive fun at the Arizona Science Center.

Additional Info
5Arizona State University - West Campus+
ADMISSION RATE
78%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
1

This Northwest Phoenix campus of Arizona State University is one of the smaller public accredited Arizona universities, reporting enrollment of less than 3,700 students. Having a smaller student body isn't necessarily a bad thing, though -- the student-faculty ratio at ASU West is 12:1, better by 25 percent than the national average of 16:1.

Transfer students are important to the mission at ASU West. Students may take their first two years of courses at a community college and switch to this or another ASU campus to complete their degree.

The West Campus Transfer Center exists to help provide support for community college students looking to transfer in. What's more, students in the Maricopa County Community College District can make use of the Maricopa to ASU Pathways Program (MAPP) to start their transfer journey on the right track.

Additional Info
6Arizona State University - Polytechnic Campus+
ADMISSION RATE
76%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

This ASU campus near the southeastern edge of the Phoenix metro area is another close-knit school. The student body at Arizona State University Polytechnic tops out at around 4,400, although it's grown by more than 15 percent since 2012.

Degree programs at the Polytechnic campus focus on interdisciplinary sciences, technology, engineering, management and education. Industry partnerships make it possible for ASU Polytechnic to offer degrees in uncommon subjects such as aeronautical management, history of science, human systems engineering and graphic information technology for game design.

Advanced technology and project-based approaches to learning combine to produce a unique educational experience at this Mesa school. Campus facilities include a flight simulator, semiconductor fabrication equipment, on-demand digital manufacturing machinery and a major regional airport, all within a few dozen miles of breathtaking mountainscapes and majestic desert lakes.

Additional Info
7Grand Canyon University+
ADMISSION RATE
57%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Recommended
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
78

Grand Canyon University is a faith-based college located in Phoenix. Founded in 1949 by the Southern Baptist Church, GCU transitioned out of non-profit status in 2004 and began operating as one of the few accredited for-profit colleges to arise out of a religious tradition.

GCU was one of the best schools in Arizona for distance education, offering more than 80 specific online courses at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Busy students can also attend evening courses on campus and mix course types to create hybrid degree plans.

As a private Christian university, GCU does offer ecclesiastical degrees both on campus and online, but conventional, secular subjects are also widely available. Degrees in business, education, health care, information technology and the arts and humanities can all be earned in the traditional classroom or as entirely online degrees.

Additional Info
8Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Prescott+
ADMISSION RATE
76%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Recommended
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

The flagship campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is located in Daytona Beach, Florida, but this small satellite campus has been educating students in the central Arizona city of Prescott for over 40 years. A total of close to 30 degree programs are offered at the Prescott location, including some in subjects that may be hard to find at other Arizona schools.

As an outpost of the largest aviation-oriented institution in the world, Embry-Riddle's Prescott campus is uniquely suited to a few specialized and highly technical fields. Degrees in aeronautical science, air traffic management and applied meteorology are just a few of the high-flying study plans available here.

Security-minded students have an exciting option at Embry-Riddle, as well. Spy Camp is an immersive summer program that provides hands-on experience with investigation and surveillance techniques, counterintelligence practices and espionage.

Additional Info
9Prescott College+
ADMISSION RATE
68%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
62

If you're looking for a tiny, private liberal arts institution in Arizona, look no further than Prescott College. Total enrollment here tops out at fewer than 400 students, and the college has yet to reach 10,000 total graduates in its more than 50 years of awarding degrees.

Prescott College is located in a wildly diverse natural area featuring six different biomes within ten miles of the center of the city. As such, sustainability is a significant part of the mission here -- more than 100 percent of the campus's electricity needs are sourced from solar and other renewable energy sources.

Also exemplifying that commitment to sustainability is a newly built student residence hall called the Village. Its rainwater catchment system, high-efficiency design and other features earned it a Platinum-level certification by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

Additional Info
10Chamberlain College of Nursing - Arizona+
ADMISSION RATE
80%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Recommended
APPLICATION FEE
$95
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

The Phoenix campus of this nationally distributed for-profit school offers just one campus-based degree program: a three-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) plan that consists of 122 credit hours of coursework. A liberal arts core encompasses 56 of the required credits, with dedicated nursing courses making up the balance.

Some of the latest pieces of nurse training technology are available at Chamberlain, including a patient simulator that produces realistic vital signs and somatic reactions. Lifelike simulated patients are controlled by instructors and can voice their discomfort, blink, sweat, bleed and more.

Multiple degree plans are available online through the Chamberlain system as well. Working registered nurses (RNs) comfortable with virtual instruction can enroll in an online RN-to-BSN program, while bachelor's degree holders can pursue master's degrees in nursing and public health.

Additional Info

Most Popular Degree Programs in Arizona

Students hoping to have a large peer group in their chosen major can achieve that goal more easily if they know which ones are the most common degree programs in the state. Check out this list of degrees that were most popular in Arizona schools during the past statistical year.

In-demand Careers in Arizona

If you're looking to turn your degree into a stable career track, educating yourself in a way that may potentially fill a gap in the labor market can go a long way toward helping you succeed. Here's a rundown of some in-demand careers in Arizona where a bachelor's degree can help you get started.

Career TitleProjected Job GrowthTotal EmploymentAnnual Salary
Brickmasons and Blockmasons68.1%610$40,090
Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers68.1%230$55,920
Helpers--Brickmasons, Blockmasons, Stonemasons, and Tile and Marble Setters64.4%500$33,980
Stonemasons62.6%670$31,120
Solar Photovoltaic Installers58.3%--
Millwrights56.7%280$50,850
Operations Research Analysts55.4%3,810$71,930
Helpers--Electricians53.3%1,370$29,940
Elevator Installers and Repairers52.7%200$68,840
Roofers52%3,400$38,420
Statisticians51.5%980$75,800
Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers51.4%5,940$39,750
Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers51.4%8,020$46,440
Helpers--Pipelayers, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters49.9%500$27,840
Interpreters and Translators49.5%2,550$41,340
Electricians49.1%10,400$49,180
Construction Laborers48.5%17,700$33,350
Helpers--Carpenters47.8%530$31,620
Helpers--Painters, Paperhangers, Plasterers, and Stucco Masons47.6%350$28,280
Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters47.4%7,300$49,100
Web Developers45.8%2,570$71,180
Tile and Marble Setters45.3%650$46,170
First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers45.2%13,730$61,660
Carpenters44.6%10,820$42,990
Plasterers and Stucco Masons44.2%1,860$39,440
Painters, Construction and Maintenance44.1%4,740$37,830
Construction and Related Workers, All Other44%--
Security and Fire Alarm Systems Installers42.9%1,410$50,490
Fence Erectors42.6%-$33,090
Insulation Workers, Floor, Ceiling, and Wall42.2%400$38,050
Source: 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Financial Aid and Scholarships in Arizona

Arizona students have access to a few financial aid programs specific to residents of the state:

  • The Arizona Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (AzLEAP) provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduates.
  • The Math, Science and Special Education Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program may relieve students of up to $7,000 per year in college debt if they pledge to teach in Arizona public schools for a length of time after graduation.
 
PepsiCo Cesar Chavez Latino Scholarship
Applicants must be of Latino descent accepted for enrollment or enrolled full-time in an undergraduate program in Arizona or California. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required. Selection is primarily based on demonstration of academic achievement, leadership potential, community service, extracurricular involvement and financial need.
More

MAX. AWARD AMOUNT

N/A

APPLICATION DEADLINE

May 25

 

 

 
Baird Foundation Scholarship
Applicant must be an Arizona resident, U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and demonstrate academic excellence.
More

MAX. AWARD AMOUNT

$10,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

October 15

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Recipient must maintain a minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA and full-time enrollment are required to retain scholarship.

 
National Guard Association of Arizona Scholarship
Applicant must be a current enlisted member of the Arizona National Guard, a dependent child or spouse of a member of the NGAAZ, or a current officer member of the Arizona National Guard that is also a member of the NGAAZ. Applicant must be a full-time student and be in good standing. Selection is based upon financial need, GPA, community service, letters of recommendation, and National Guard philosophy/knowledge.
More

MAX. AWARD AMOUNT

N/A

APPLICATION DEADLINE

April 1

 

 

 
CU Succeed Scholarship
Applicant must be an Arizona Central Credit Union member with a minimum 3.0 GPA who has been accepted to, and is planning to attend an accredited college, university, community college or trade school located in Arizona as a full-time student.
More

MAX. AWARD AMOUNT

$8,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

May 16

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA (and semester 2.5 GPA) and continues to attend their school as a full time student for both fall and spring semesters. Renewable for a maximum term of four consecutive years.

Additional Resources

Article Sources
Methodology

To get our list of the best colleges, we ranked 1,383 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S. Each school was scored on a 100-point scale, using the following data points and the weights specified. In order to be included in the ranking, schools had to report data for each of the following data points:

  • The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016-17
  • The average amount of institutional grant aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduate students as a percentage of in-state tuition and fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of full-time first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Median debt of graduates, College Scorecard, 2015-16
  • 3-year student loan repayment rate of graduates, College Scorecard, 2015-16
  • No. of degree and certificate programs offered on campus, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • No. of degree and certificate programs offered via distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of students enrolled in any distance education classes, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2016
  • Full-time student retention rate, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2016
  • Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016-17
  • Percent of students working and not enrolled 6 years after entry, College Scorecard, 2013-14
  • Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016-17
    • Dual credit
    • Credit for life experience
    • Advanced Placement credit
    • Programs of study that can be completed entirely on weekends or in the evening
    • Remedial services
    • Academic and career counseling
    • Job placement services for graduates
    • Guaranteed tuition plan
    • Tuition payment plan
    • Any other alternative tuition plan

Note:Tuition prices are based on data for the 2016-17 academic year reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.
All of the National Center for Education Statistics data came from IPEDS:
Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2015-16, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/

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