FLAGSTAFF- NAU’s new Access2Excellence initiative reflects the urgent need to broaden participation and increase educational attainment in Arizona, helping students gain the knowledge and skills needed to participate in the state’s booming economy.
Northern Arizona University (NAU) recently announced it will provide a tuition-free college education for every Arizona resident with a household income of $65,000 or below, assuring tuition will be fully covered by scholarships and financial aid. Approximately 50 percent of Arizona households currently meet this financial threshold.
“If you are an Arizona resident and live in a household where your family income is at or below $65,000 per year, which is the current median for the state, you have an opportunity to come to NAU—tuition-free,” NAU President José Luis Cruz Rivera said.
NAU will continue to provide generous financial aid packages for students living in households with incomes above $65,000. NAU’s cost of attendance for all students will remain lower than other in-state options, ensuring every Arizonan has access to an affordable, high-quality education at NAU.
These changes take effect in Fall 2023 for first-year and transfer students who attend NAU in Flagstaff or at one of the university’s sites throughout Arizona.
NAU’s Access2Excellence (A2E) initiative was created to broaden access to higher education and increase attainment of valuable postsecondary credentials for Arizona residents—fueling economic and social mobility in Arizona and throughout the nation.
Arizona’s economy continues to be among the most prosperous and fastest-growing in the nation, while the state’s educational attainment is among the lowest.
“NAU’s Access2Excellence initiative is a transformative step to help bridge our state’s attainment gap and provide an affordable pathway to college, ensuring Arizona develops and retains talent that can participate in the high-tech, high-skill jobs that power the economy of the future,” said Neil Giuliano, President and CEO of Greater Phoenix Leadership.
“Affordability of college is top of mind for many, and this program ensures that tuition is not a barrier,” Cruz Rivera said. “It’s the embodiment of our university’s commitment to excellence and delivering equitable postsecondary value to all our students. NAU’s high-quality academic programs and exceptional services support students in achieving transformative post-college outcomes.”
“The Access2Excellence initiative underscores NAU’s commitment to eliminate obstacles that undermine the college-going aspirations of students from diverse economic, social and cultural backgrounds,” said Lyndel Manson, Chair of the Arizona Board of Regents. “I’m thrilled that NAU is taking the lead in showing Arizona students and families that college is attainable and affordable—and that college is a real option for them.”
The initiative builds on other complementary efforts by NAU to address the state’s attainment needs. In March, NAU launched a pilot program that assures admission for hard-working, qualified students who meet Arizona high school graduation requirements with a 3.0 GPA or higher. This program eliminated an access barrier for thousands of high-achieving Arizona high school students.
“NAU aims to be a leading university for access, success and equitable value. The Access2Excellence initiative is only one in a series of actions aimed at delivering on this mission and better serving all Arizonans,” Cruz Rivera said. “There is more to come, including reimaging our statewide footprint, expanding and updating our programmatic offerings and finalizing our Strategic Roadmap to help guide our actions well into the future.”
About Northern Arizona University
Northern Arizona University is a high-research institution providing exceptional educational opportunities in Arizona and beyond. NAU delivers a student-centered experience to its nearly 30,000 students in Flagstaff, statewide and online through rigorous academic programs in a supportive, inclusive and diverse environment. Dedicated, world-renowned faculty help ensure students achieve academic excellence, experience personal growth, have meaningful research opportunities and are positioned for personal and professional success.
Guest Contributors include press releases, guest authors, and columnists who contribute less than 4 times a year.