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Local News

Arizona Has Plenty of Higher Ed Institutions and Low Tuition, but Graduation Rates Remain a Problem

Credit: iStock

Anzhe Zhang 

Arizona is one of the 18 states and U.S. territories with more than 120 colleges or universities, according to a study compiled with data from the Department of Education that measures SAT scores, tuition, and more within states for 2022.

Among Arizona’s 125 schools, 34 are public institutions while 91 are private, placing the state well into the upper echelon when it comes to the number of institutions for learning within a state.

Though Arizona has above average higher education statistics than the national average on some fronts, the state is also currently witnessing a pandemic enrollment decline, with the state’s Board of Regents forecasting that college completion rate in the state may drop as low as 17 percent by 2029.

Graduation rate remains a key higher education issue for Arizonans, as the state falls in the bottom 25 percent when it comes to degree completion.

Tuition for Arizona students averaged $19,356 dollars, with state residents paying $9,941 dollars, while the acceptance rate for schools averaged 76.50 percent.

Arizona ranks eighth in the nation when it comes to student population, with a total of 624,268 students. It ranks higher than states in the region like New Mexico and Nevada with 110,538 and 119,062 students, respectively, but lower than other nearby states like Texas, with 1,691,337 students.

Like other states with a big student population, the students-to-faculty ratio in Arizona is high, with an average of 20.35 students to one faculty – the highest in the nation.

Compared to the national average, Arizona falls squarely in the middle when it comes to SAT scores and below average when it comes to graduation rate, signifying areas that need improvement. Students in Arizona who enrolled in college scored an average of 1,156 points on the SAT while the state graduation rate was 39.88 percent.

While these two categories show Arizona is above average compared to many states across the region, it also highlights the difference between Arizona and other states and territories, like neighboring Utah with an average SAT score of 1,209 points and where the graduation rate is several percentage points higher at 49.5%.