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Colleges and Universities in Arizona

Enrolling into a college or university upon completion of secondary education is a major contributor to achieving your career goals and acquiring the qualifications needed for today’s job market. Though third-level education is an optional phase of formal learning, this step is an invaluable opportunity for students to develop professionally and to build a strong network of fellow students, academics and industry experts. The higher education system in Arizona is composed of different types of public and private postsecondary institutions offering a variety of vocational and degree programs. Currently, prospective students have the option to obtain their academic degree from state-funded universities, community colleges or private institutions. In addition to the aforementioned options, individuals can also complete an online degree program rather than attending a traditional on-campus university. Prior to choosing a college or university, however, several factors must be taken into consideration. These include, but are not limited to admissions criteria, school costs and possible financial aid, the types of programs offered and more. Specific institutions, including the state Board of Regents and the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education (ACPE) are responsible for providing policy guidance to universities and facilitating students’ transition into their postsecondary education experience.

Read the sections below for a more detailed review of the higher education system in Arizona:             

  • Overview of postsecondary education institutions in Arizona
  • What to consider when choosing a college or university in Arizona

Overview of Postsecondary Education Institutions in Arizona

The Arizona Department of Education offers various options to individuals who wish to pursue a higher education degree, and thus better prepare for their future endeavors. The following list outlines different types of postsecondary colleges and universities in Arizona:

  • State Universities - These institutions are generally financed with public funds. Currently, Arizona State University and the University of Arizona fall into this category. Prospective students who wish to enroll into one these universities can choose between a vast range of programs of study in the field of business, education and teaching, computing and mathematics, arts and more, and earn the respective bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree. The Arizona Board of Regents is the governing body which provides policy guidance to state universities.
  • State Community Colleges - Community colleges constitute the largest part of public postsecondary education within the state. In general, they offer two-year associate degrees which are designated to prepare students for transfer to Arizona universities. In addition to this, individuals are offered various opportunities for continuing education, academic counseling, as well as programs for community enrichment.
  • Private Postsecondary Educational Institutions - These are usually funded by tuitions and endowments. In the past, private universities, colleges and vocational schools were available specifically to Arizona residents. Currently, such institutions are open to students across the nation and around the world, due to the concept of e-learning. The Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education is responsible for licensing and regulating private schools and degree programs in the state.
  • Online Colleges and Universities - Online courses are generally intended for individuals who wish to obtain an academic degree, but are not able to attend a traditional on-campus college or university. A vast number of institutions, including Arizona State University offer a quality online educational experience, thus helping students achieve their long-term career goals.

What to Consider When Choosing a College or University in Arizona

Prior to completing their college or university application, individuals must be aware of different factors which may influence their decision. An important step is to choose an area of study and the applicable degree program. Since Arizona colleges and universities offer various programs, prospective students are encouraged to do extensive research by reading about the available programs and related requirements. Tuition fees and costs must be also taken into consideration when making a decision. Since the lack of funds for enrolling into a college or university can be a major obstacle, future students must familiarize themselves with different financial aid programs in which they may qualify. Financial aid can be in the form of grants, scholarships, work-study, loans and more. The Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education offers several options to individuals in need of a financial help. A great example of this is the Arizona Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (AZLEAP) Grant which provides need-based grants to low-income students. Also, each college or university in Arizona may have developed a similar program to facilitate the enrollment procedure. Once you have chosen your postsecondary institution in Arizona, visit their official website or contact their offices to check whether they offer such service. Finally, if you are interested in continuing education, practical experience or job placement services, make sure to check whether such opportunities are available at the institution you wish to attend.