College enrollment is up; ◊Ó–¬¬ť∂Ļ√‚∑—Ņīhigh school graduates‚Äô educational attainment remains low
Total enrollment at Arizona‚Äôs public universities reached historic highs in fall 2023, but even with the growth, just 30 percent of ◊Ó–¬¬ť∂Ļ√‚∑—Ņīhigh school graduates completed a college degree or certificate program within six years, according to two new reports released by the ◊Ó–¬¬ť∂Ļ√‚∑—Ņī.
The Academic Year 2024 Fall Enrollment Report reflects enrollment at Arizona‚Äôs public universities, while the 2023 Postsecondary Attainment Report measures ◊Ó–¬¬ť∂Ļ√‚∑—Ņīhigh school graduates‚Äô postsecondary enrollment and completion, wherever they choose to attend.
Enrollment at Arizona‚Äôs public universities is an integral component of advancing the state‚Äôs goal to increase educational attainment ‚ÄĒ the percentage of adults who earn a college degree. Flatlined attainment is a growing concern when ◊Ó–¬¬ť∂Ļ√‚∑—Ņīneeds 26,300 more bachelor‚Äôs degrees annually to support the state‚Äôs economy.
A bright spot in the Fall Enrollment Report shows the universities welcoming the highest number of Pell-eligible students (57,793), 54.8 percent of whom are ◊Ó–¬¬ť∂Ļ√‚∑—Ņīresidents. While the number of low-income ◊Ó–¬¬ť∂Ļ√‚∑—Ņīstudents attending college is on the rise, demonstrating the success of the ◊Ó–¬¬ť∂Ļ√‚∑—ŅīPromise Program, it still has not matched pre-pandemic highs. The ◊Ó–¬¬ť∂Ļ√‚∑—ŅīPromise Program provides a guaranteed scholarship for qualifying low-income ◊Ó–¬¬ť∂Ļ√‚∑—Ņīstudents that ensures all tuition and fees are covered at Arizona's public universities.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs clear that ◊Ó–¬¬ť∂Ļ√‚∑—Ņīis seeing a modest improvement in college enrollment and completion, but we are still not meeting the mark when it comes to postsecondary attainment for our high school graduates,‚ÄĚ said ABOR Chair Fred DuVal. ‚ÄúThis chronic, low rate of educational attainment limits our students‚Äô upward mobility and is a recipe for our state‚Äôs future economic stagnation.‚ÄĚ
Key fall enrollment takeaways:
- Total enrollment at Arizona‚Äôs public universities is up, largely due to online enrollment increases.
- ◊Ó–¬¬ť∂Ļ√‚∑—ŅīState University saw historic enrollment in fall 2023 with 145,655 students ‚ÄĒ up 2 percent from the year before.
- ◊Ó–¬¬ť∂Ļ√‚∑—Ņīresidents now comprise 70.3 percent of Northern ◊Ó–¬¬ť∂Ļ√‚∑—ŅīUniversity‚Äôs undergraduate students, an increase of 3.2 percent from the previous year.
- Fall 2023 enrollment at the University of ◊Ó–¬¬ť∂Ļ√‚∑—Ņīis the largest and most diverse in its history with 77,353 students, a 56.6 percent increase from the prior year.
Learn more about fall enrollment at Arizona‚Äôs public universities here.
Key postsecondary takeaways for Arizona‚Äôs high school graduates:
- Forty-eight percent of Arizona‚Äôs 2022 high school graduates pursued education beyond high school, while 30.3 percent of Arizona‚Äôs 2017 high school graduates were able to successfully complete a certificate, credential or college degree.
- Arizona‚Äôs high school graduates‚Äô postsecondary completion trends are moderately increasing.
- ◊Ó–¬¬ť∂Ļ√‚∑—Ņīgraduates from historically underrepresented populations enroll in higher education at lower rates than peers.
- Arizona‚Äôs public universities enrolled more than two-thirds of ◊Ó–¬¬ť∂Ļ√‚∑—Ņīhigh school graduates that chose a four-year degree program.
Find out more about college-going and completion rates for Arizona‚Äôs high school graduates here.