A thorough cost study conducted and verified by an independent third party demonstrates that compared to public university peers, Arizona’s public universities graduate a higher percentage of students at a lower cost.

The recent cost study determined that in fiscal year 2016, Arizona’s public universities cost per student ($16,813) was lower than the aggregated national average of four-year public institutions, including both research and non-research universities.

Systemwide, Arizona public universities are spending about $800 per student less today in real dollars than the institutions spent in fiscal year 2008. Current state support for Arizona resident students, is approximately $5,630 per student. Based on this data, to attain the goals in the resident student funding model, state investment in resident students would need to increase to $7,898 per student.

Key takeaways from the study include:

  • During fiscal year 2016, on average, Arizona’s public universities spent $16,813 per student. This cost is based on nationally established financial reporting standards and audited financial information.
  • ABOR engaged Grant Thornton, a national accounting firm, to independently verify the presented information and provide comparisons with peer universities.
  • Grant Thornton found Arizona public universities’ use of the data is correct.
  • Grant Thornton also determined Arizona’s public universities cost per student is lower than the aggregated national average of four‐year public institutions – an average that includes both research and non‐research universities.
  • After adjustments for inflation, fiscal year 2016 per student expenditures were $838 less than per student expenditures in fiscal year 2008.