Increasing access to financial aid for students has led to record enrollment, retention, graduation and diversity at Arizona’s public universities. Debt upon graduation for students with financial aid remains low compared to other public universities, and the Arizona Board of Regents remains committed to keeping Arizona’s public universities affordable and accessible.

The board’s 2017 Financial Aid Report reflects substantial enrollment increases in both resident and non-resident students in an era where many public university systems are seeing little to no growth or are facing declining enrollments. ABOR is actively working to increase the number of Arizonans who pursue and complete a university education, and access to financial aid remains integral to that goal, particularly as the vast majority of students attending Arizona’s public universities rely on financial aid to help fund their education.

In Arizona, debt upon graduation for students with financial aid remains low compared to other public universities. Approximately 42 percent of Arizona public university undergraduate students graduate with no debt.

The amount of debt incurred at Arizona’s public universities for an undergraduate degree continues to stay below the national average. In fiscal year 2017, Arizona public university graduates average student loan debt was $23,844 as compared to the national average of $30,100 in 2015 (the last year for which data was available).

Loan default rates from undergraduates entering repayment in 2014 – the last year data was available – are the lowest among higher education institutions within Arizona and also fell below the national average. Arizona is also considered a low-debt state according to “Student Debt and the Class of 2016,” a report by the Institute for College Access & Success that ranks Arizona fourth among low-debt states in the nation.

With limited state investment in financial aid for resident students, Arizona’s financial aid model is heavily reliant on the revenue generated from tuition and mandatory fees from non-resident students. Arizona’s public universities have been successful in increasing new student enrollment from non-resident students at a time when the vast majority of the nation’s public universities have not experienced enrollment growth. This report underscores the fact that Arizona’s students and families need the state as a long-term partner to ensure affordable access to the universities.