Jun 13, 2022 - News

Arizona undergraduate enrollment surges as nation sees decline

Percentage change in undergraduate enrollment
Data: National Student Clearinghouse; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Undergraduate enrollment at Arizona colleges and universities has grown by 4.5% since spring 2019. At the same time, enrollment nationally has declined by 7.8%, according to a recent analysis by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

  • Arizona was one of only eight states to see enrollment increase.
  • Only New Hampshire (24%), Utah (11.3%) and Indiana (4.6%) had larger percentage increases.

Details: Arizona's public four-year universities saw the largest gains between spring 2021 and spring 2022, with undergraduate enrollment increasing by about 10,000 students, or 5.1%.

  • Private nonprofit four-year universities increased enrollment by about 0.3%.
  • Two-year public institution enrollment decreased by 4%.

Why it matters: The pandemic hurt enrollment at most colleges nationwide but officials with Arizona State University and the University of Arizona tell Axios they pivoted to provide students with more flexibility and upped recruitment efforts, which kept their enrollment growing.

ASU associate vice president Matt López said they have been a leader in online education for years, which allowed an easy transition during the pandemic.

  • He said the university continues to expand options for flexible in-person and remote learning so "individuals who want education — who need education — have access to flexible options."

U of A vice president Kasey Urquídez attributed the university's enrollment growth to an initiative that allows recruiters to connect with prospective students earlier in high school to "ensure that families know what to do to prepare academically and what costs look like."

  • She said that even though U of A wants to recruit students from around the country and the world, the university is working hard to entice Arizona students to attend school in the state.
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