There are many colleges in Arizona. This article will focus on public and non-profit colleges in Arizona and their surrounding area. Arizona has a diverse landscape that we’ve sectioned into Northern Arizona, Central Arizona, and Southern Arizona. These three areas in Arizona are unique and each has a public university and community college to choose from.
Going to College in Northern Arizona
Any location you call home in Arizona is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise! However, the vast amount of land in Northern Arizona may just offer the most diverse set of outdoor activities! This area of the state experiences four seasons. Not only can you visit the high desert landscape of beautiful Sedona you can also visit the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, or Lake Powell. In the winter, those in Northern Arizona can also enjoy cross-country and downhill skiing in Flagstaff.
Residents here have the best of two worlds! When they want to escape the winter weather for some fun in the sun, they can take a 2-3 hour drive down to Phoenix and warm up! Northern Arizona may appeal to college students who like to enjoy the outdoors, want a nice college town vibe, yet want four seasons.
Northern Arizona University
Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) main campus is nestled in the picturesque mountain town of Flagstaff. NAU’s official mascot is Louie the Lumberjack which may be fitting as college students enjoy four seasons, forests, and the San Francisco Peak Mountains. Overlooking Flagstaff is Humphrey’s peak, the highest point in Arizona towering at 12,633 feet in elevation which is one of Arizona’s ski destinations. Flagstaff itself sits at an elevation of 7,000 feet and college students enjoy 266 days of sunshine.
College students attending NAU enjoy a variety of activities the town of Flagstaff has to offer, from shopping, places to eat, bars, and coffee shops. Exploring Arizona isn’t too challenging either as the Grand Canyon is only 1.5 hours away and Phoenix is just 2 hours south. NAU has about 30,000 students and offers degree programs for just about everyone. They are an NCAA Division 1 school and have 15 sports teams, called The Lumberjacks. If you’re not that into sports, there are also plenty of other organizations, recreational clubs, and on-campus living opportunities. Check out NAU’s website for more information.
Community Colleges in Northern Arizona
Though Northern Arizona University is the largest school in northern Arizona, this is also home to various community colleges.
- Coconino Community College: with campuses located in Flagstaff, Williams, and Page
- Yavapai College: with campuses located in Prescott, Sedona, Clarkdale, and Chino Valley
- Mohave Community College: with campuses located in Kingman, Bullhead City, and Lake Havasu City
- Northland Pioneer College: with campuses located in Snowflake, Show Low, Holbrook, and Winslow
Going to College in Central Arizona
Part of central Arizona is located in the Sonoran Desert and home to Phoenix, the largest city in Arizona. Phoenix has a lot to offer residents who want to live in a sunny climate yet have access to a lot of options for entertainment. Phoenix has everything other cities have, like professional sports teams, broadway plays, symphonies, museums, bars, and restaurants.
Phoenix also hosts an International Airport with access to flights and low fairs around the world. Top that off, Phoenix is also less than a 6-hour drive from destinations such as San Diego, Los Angelas, and Las Vegas. Though the Sonoran Desert experiences heat well over the double-digits in the summer, those that live there can take a short drive to the northern part of the state for cooler temperatures. These are some of the benefits Arizona State University students get to enjoy!
Arizona State University
Arizona State University (ASU) has four campuses. The main campus is located in Tempe and others reside in Glendale, Phoenix, and Mesa. The Tempe campus is located less than 10 miles from downtown Phoenix and is a walkable campus and is surrounded by lots of greenery, trees, and plants. It has an urban feel and encompasses about 660 acres and expands across several streets in Tempe. The most active street is Mill Avenue, which is very vibrant and active throughout the year. Mill Avenue offers a variety of dining, bars, entertainment, shops, and is the host of multiple events annually.
ASU is a large public university with 90,000 students. It’s ranked #1 as a public research university for innovation and offers over 350 majors to choose from. The sports teams participate in the PAC-12 Conference and have a notable athletic department with their mascot being the Sun Devil. Visit Arizona State University’s website for more information.
Community Colleges in Central Arizona
- Maricopa County Community College District
- Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Chandler, Mesa, Sun Lakes
- Estrella Mountain Community College, Avondale
- GateWay Community College, Phoenix
- Glendale Community College, Glendale
- Mesa Community College, Mesa
- Paradise Valley Community College, Phoenix
- Phoenix College, Phoenix
- Rio Salado Community College, distance learning community college, Tempe
- Scottsdale Community College, Scottsdale
- South Mountain Community College, Phoenix
Visit ASU’s website to learn more.
Going to College in Southern Arizona
If you take just a short drive south of Phoenix, you’ll find yourself in southern Arizona. Like the rest of Arizona, there is a host of outdoor activities. You can hike and mountain bike in Saguaro National Park and the various mountain ranges in the region. Southern Arizona is also home to the city of Tuscon; Tuscon is where The University of Arizona’s home base.
The University of Arizona
Did you know that The University of Arizona (UA) was the first university in Arizona and was founded in 1885? Today, UA has grown to a student body of over 45,000 students. The main campus is walkable and located in the heart of Tuscon but there is also a location in Phoenix as well. UA is part of the Pac-12 Conference and their mascot is The Wildcats.
The University of Arizona is also considered a research university and happens to collaborate with NASA. It just goes to show that at UA, the sky’s the limit! Visit The University of Arizona’s website to learn more.
Community Colleges in Central Arizona
- Arizona Western College, Yuma, AZ (Other locations: San Luis, Quartzsite, Wellton, Somerton)
- Cochise College, Douglas, Sierra Vista, Benson, Willcox, Fort Huachuca, and Nogales
- Pima Community College, Tucson
- Eastern Arizona College, Thatcher