Best Colleges in Arizona 1Since statehood in 1912, Arizona has contributed its rich culture and varied landscape to the American experience. In the land of the Grand Canyon, prehistoric Native American ruins coexist with city skyscrapers. The Wild West gives way to Spanish and Victorian architecture. With a change in altitude, residents and visitors alike can ski up north near Flagstaff or hike the deserts around Phoenix.

With sunshine an average of over 300 days every year, what’s not to love about this beautiful state? Paddle board in Phoenix, watch professional hockey and football in Glendale, attend Motorcycles on Main in Mesa or hike around Scottsdale. Student life in Arizona promises to enrich, entertain and expand horizons.

With hundreds of choices for higher education, everyone can find their perfect school. Small-town schools, private universities, research-centric colleges and eco-friendly campuses provide a tailored education. Some universities offer project-based education while others excel at offering online degrees. One school created a collaborative campus where businesses lease space and share research.

Arizona is ahead of the nation for new job growth. Unemployment has declined 7.4 percent and reached levels from before the Great Recession. Reflecting that statistic, college enrollments are down in the 24-and-older student segment. When job security and satisfaction are high, adults stay with employers rather than pursue further education. Meanwhile, enrollments in Arizona have trended higher than the rest of the country. Numbers increased 5.2 percent  in 2014, 2.9 percent  in 2015 and 1.3 percent  in 2016.

What are the best colleges in Arizona?

Universities are ranked on several criteria. Schools with the best scores achieve high graduation rates with a low student-to-faculty ratio. Generous financial aid reduces the debt burden on graduates. Universities listed here maintain a stellar reputation and admit the highest achievers. The best schools set up students for future success with higher starting salaries and prepare them for rewarding careers. Data included in this report was collected from numerous trusted sources such as U.S. News & World Report, Payscale and individual collegiate websites.

1

Arizona State University Tempe

College Choice Score: 100

Average Net Price: $12,191

School Website

Overview

Arizona State University was founded in 1885 in Tempe, Arizona, by the state legislature as a school to train teachers. Today, ASU has multiple campuses and satellite sites for students to achieve their dreams. Even with such a diverse location landscape, the university considers all locations to be part of ASU – not individual campuses. This research university in Tempe campus has 661 acres.

Features

Arizona State University Tempe had a fall enrollment of 51,869 students nearly 42,000 undergraduates. ASU-Tempe offers 300 undergraduate majors. First-year students are required to live on campus unless commuting from parent’s home. After freshman year, nearly 80 percent of all students live off campus. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 23-to-1. Nearly 40 percent of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, students have access to over 500 student organizations. Arizona State University-Tempe participates in NCAA Division I Pac-12 sports conference. Top majors include:

  • Business
  • Social Sciences
  • Biological & Biomedical Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Visual & Performing Arts

Notables

ASU has been named #1 for innovation by the U.S. News & World Report – surpassing Stanford and MIT for two years in a row. It is a top destination school for international students. It also has a highly ranked business, law, engineering and teaching colleges. Top notable alumni include Actor – David Spade, Talk Show Host – Jimmy Kimmel, and baseball star – Barry Bonds.

2

University of Arizona

College Choice Score: 98.66

Average Net Price: $15,681

School Website

Overview

The University of Arizona was founded in 1885 in Tucson, Arizona by the Territory Legislature to take advantage of the land-grant opportunity. Today, it is a top-ranked research, land-grant university with two medical schools. It is known as the first university in Arizona located in the middle of the Sonoran Desert with over 380 acres. All undergraduates will graduate with proven experience on their resume either through an internship, fieldwork assignment, community service, original work design or collaborate on research opportunities.

Features

The University of Arizona offers over 300 majors for roughly 33,000 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 23-to-1. Nearly 40 percent of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, students have access to over 600 student organizations – including over 30 Greek chapters. The University of Arizona participates in NCAA Division I Pac-12 sports conference. Top majors include:

  • Business
  • Biological & Biomedical Sciences
  • Social Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Health Professions

Notables

The University of Arizona has an astronomical observatory mirror lab under the football stadium, an entire ecosystem under a glass dome and has asteroid samples. They have plans to send materials to space to study an asteroid that will be near the earth in 2020.

3

Arizona State University West

College Choice Score: 95.9

Average Net Price: $9,505

School Website

Overview

Arizona State University West was founded in 1984 in northwest Phoenix, Arizona, near the city of Glendale. It is one of four main campuses of the Arizona State University system. The West campus goal is to merge liberal arts studies with 21st-century workforce preparation. It offers many of the same programs offered at the other Arizona State University locations. However, it is home to the first undergraduate degree in the Thunderbird School of Global Management. It is in Northwest Phoenix.  The main campus has 278 acres.

Features

Arizona State University West serves 3,663 students that pursue over 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Students are also able to start their course work at this location and transfer to another campus to finish their degree if the program they selected is not at the West location. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 13-to-1. Nearly 50 percent of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, students have access to over 600 student organizations. Arizona State University West participates in NCAA Division I sports conference. Top majors include:

  • Psychology
  • Communications
  • Biology
  • Business
  • Education

Notables

In 2011, the campus completed a large solar array that powers almost the entire campus with solar energy. This kind of cost savings allows the university to create new programming for the community and their students.

4

Arizona State University Polytechnic

College Choice Score: 95.09

Average Net Price: $12,125

School Website

Overview

Arizona State University Polytechnic was founded in 1996 by the Arizona State University on the former Williams Air Force Base near Mesa, Arizona.  The Polytechnic campus focuses on interdisciplinary sciences, engineering, management, technology, and education. They have specialized equipment for their flight-related studies; unique printing presses; and on-demand digital manufacturing.

Features

Arizona State University Polytechnic serves over 4,300 students with over 107 areas to study. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 18-to-1. According to Niche.com, students have access to the many opportunities within the Arizona State University system. However, at this campus, students report a very low student organization activity for commuter students. The campus does have a robust residential life. Top majors include:

  • Biology
  • Engineering & Mechanical Engineering
  • Graphic Communications
  • Chemical Technician
  • Aeronautics & Aviation Technology

Notables

Arizona State University Polytechnic campus incorporates a major regional airport and a desert arboretum. Residential life includes living spaces that includes: family housing, a freshman residence hall, dining facilities and a student recreation center. The campus is within a 30 minutes’ drive of recreational opportunities including hiking, Superstition Mountain, and area lakes.

5

Arizona State University Downtown Phoenix

College Choice Score: 94.51

Average Net Price: $12,358

School Website

Overview

Arizona State University Downtown Phoenix campus was founded in 2004 by the Arizona State University main campus to connect students with downtown companies. The campus creation has revitalized several areas of the downtown Phoenix area. Today, the campus offers many of the ASU academic degrees. However, their focus is on the healthcare, law, and media areas.

Features

Arizona State University Downtown Phoenix serves 11,700 students and offers over 100 academic majors. First-year students are required to live on campus unless commuting from parent’s home. After freshman year, nearly 80 percent of all students live off campus. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 23-to-1. Nearly 40 percent of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, students have access to over 500 student organizations. Top majors include:

  • Business
  • Social Sciences
  • Biological & Biomedical Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Visual & Performing Arts

Notables

Arizona State University Downtown Phoenix is in the heart of downtown Phoenix that has light rail and connections to other ASU campuses and points of interest throughout the area. The campus has revitalized the area surrounding the campus and has assisted in building a safe environment for all.

6

Northern Arizona University

College Choice Score: 90.56

Average Net Price: $12,946

School Website

Overview

Northern Arizona University was founded in 1899 near the base of San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff, Arizona as a school to train teachers. Today, it is a public research university on a 740-acre campus in Flagstaff with additional campuses online and satellite locations throughout Arizona. The main campus is at 6,950 feet above sea level surrounded by one of the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forests in North America. Due to their love of pine trees, their forestry program is one of the top programs according to the Society of American Foresters.

Features

Northern Arizona University offers 151 undergrad and graduate degrees for over 30,000 students (over 25,000 undergraduates). Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 18-to-1. Nearly 30% of the classes have less than 20 students. Average Class size is 21.  Outside the classroom, students have access to over 300 student organizations. Northern Arizona University participates in NCAA Division I sports conference. Top majors include:

  • Criminology & Criminal Justice
  • Biomedical Science
  • Biology
  • Nursing
  • Business

Notables

Northern Arizona University’s sports team is called the Lumberjacks. The Lumberjacks are such a core focus of the university that they have a Mr. Lumberjack Pageant every homecoming. This mock beauty pageant allows male students to show off their skills and participate in a parade. If you are interested in learning more, they have a whole portfolio section in their homecoming photos.

7

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott

College Choice Score: 81.66

Average Net Price: $30,956

School Website

Overview

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona, is a residential campus founded in 1978 and connected to the global Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University system based out of Daytona Beach, Florida. Today, the campus has 539 acres in the Bradshaw Mountains – 90 minutes north of Phoenix, Arizona, and 90 minutes south of Flagstaff, Arizona.

Features

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott offers 24 majors for over 2,200 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 16-to-1. Average class size is 25 students. Nearly 30% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, students have access to over 100 student organizations. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University participates in NAIA sports conference. Top majors include:

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • International Relations & National Security Studies
  • Professional Pilot
  • Aeronautics & Aviation Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering

Notables

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is the only fully accredited aviation-orientated university in the world. The university is currently ranked the #1 undergraduate aerospace engineering program by US News & World Report. When you are on campus, see if you can get a tour of one of the many student labs available: Aerial Robotics, Structural Dynamics, Astrodynamics Light Fabrication, Wind Tunnel, Hacking, Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory, Air Traffic Control Lab, and an Observatory.

8

Arizona Christian University

College Choice Score: 77.9

Average Net Price: $26,995

School Website

Overview

Arizona Christian University was founded in 1960 in Phoenix, Arizona, by the Arizona Baptist Convention with the aid of a gift from Ida Clouse. In 2011, the college rebranded as Arizona Christian University. Today, ACU continues its connection to the Conservative Baptist Association on a campus of 19 acres. It is interesting to note that all Arizona Christian University students will graduate with a minor in Biblical Studies.

Features

Arizona Christian University offers 25 majors for 779 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 13-to-1. Nearly 83 percent of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, students have access to over 20 student organizations. Arizona Christian University participates in NAIA sports conference. Top majors include:

  • Psychology
  • Business
  • Theology & Religious Vocations
  • Education

Notables

ACU has developed a series of humanities classes called the CORE. The Core looks to answer the following questions: What is Truth? What is Beauty? What is Justice? What is Goodness? Students will interact with the CORE program throughout their time at ACU both in and out of the classroom in forms of discussions, community service, and campus events.

9

College America-Phoenix

College Choice Score: 77.88

Average Net Price: $22,208

School Website

Overview

College America-Phoenix is a branch of the Flagstaff, Arizona campus (founded in 2001) of the College America school system. The College America system was founded in 1964 and focuses on preparing students for the workforce. The College America system has additional locations in Colorado Springs, Denver and Fort Collins. It is a private non-profit with a for-profit Title IV status.

Features

College America-Phoenix offers over 9 associate and 25 bachelor degrees to over 560 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 25-to-1. Top majors include:

  • Medical Assistant
  • Business
  • Computer Science
  • Health Care Management

Notables

College America is a multi-state institution that advertises that you can graduate in a condensed time with tight connections with local businesses. According to the website, it is regionally accredited.

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