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Arizona is dominated by three universities on the public front – Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona. The Arizona Board of Regents oversees the state's public institutions. One of its main initiatives is to have the state produce enough high-quality university degrees to be nationally competitive by the year 2020. To that end, it calls for reforms in the instructional delivery model and financing of the system to ensure that residents have affordable access to Arizona's public undergraduate and graduate institutions in a broader variety of institutional formats and in more locations throughout the state. Distance education will play a major role in this. The Board of Regents has directed each public university to create new and innovative pathways for students to obtain a degree, and some initiatives include increasing online college courses and programs, as well as developing and expanding partnerships with Arizona's public community colleges to ease credit transfer. The board notes that students can save up to 50% on the cost of tuition by completing a degree through one of these pathways.
Of course, Arizona already offers a variety of online college degree programs through both its public and private institutions. Here's a look at some of the state's most notable online colleges:
Arizona State University is a public, research university based in Phoenix. It is one of the largest public universities in the University States by enrollment, with more than 72,000 total students. It awards bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in the areas of arts and sciences, business, design and the arts, education, engineering, health solutions, journalism, law, nursing and health, public programs, sustainability, and technology and innovation. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the institution among the top universities in the nation, also highlighting its graduate schools in business, education, engineering, and law. The publication also ranked ASU among the top online programs, singling out its online bachelor's, business, education, engineering, and nursing programs. These are just some of the more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs offered through the school's online platform, ASU Online. ASU's online offerings aren't just limited to students, as thousands of educational videos, audio recordings, and text documents are available for students, teachers, and lifelong learners of all ages on iTunes through its Open CourseWare Initiative.
The University of Arizona is one of the top-ranked research universities in the country. It is the state's oldest university, founded in 1885 in Tucson, and today has more than 39,000 students enrolled. Students can choose from more than 300 undergraduate and graduate degrees through 20 colleges and 11 schools on three campuses. The school is ranked among the top schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report, and is noted for its business, education, engineering, law, and medical schools. The publication also ranked Arizona's online graduate nursing and engineering programs among the best. Other schools that offer distance learning opportunities include management and optical sciences. The UA Outreach College also provides credit and noncredit educational opportunities for those seeking university-level instruction outside of a traditional campus experience.
Grand Canyon University is a private, for-profit university based in Phoenix. A Christian institution, it also places an emphasis on applying Christian values and ethics to the workplace. Students can choose from among undergraduate and graduate programs in the arts and sciences, theology, education, fine arts and production, business, and nursing. Many of its degrees are also offered online, with approximately 100 bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs in education, nursing and health sciences, business, fine arts and production and liberal arts offered. Its online bachelor's, business, education, and nursing programs are also ranked among the best by U.S. News & World Report in its inaugural survey of distance education.