Fueled by A2E, NAU welcomes record-setting entering class

Photo Courtesy NAU: Northern Arizona University announced its largest number of first-year Arizona resident students after pledging to provide a tuition-free college education for every Arizona resident with a household income of $65,000 or below.

The new Access2Excellence program is one of many NAU initiatives that are making a high-quality postsecondary education affordable and accessible for all Arizonans

FLAGSTAFF – Northern Arizona University (NAU) proudly welcomed the largest number of first-year Arizona resident students in its 124-year history as classes began earlier today.

“NAU is committed to delivering exceptional value to the students of Arizona and beyond, fulfilling our mission as the state’s access and attainment-focused university,” said NAU President José Luis Cruz Rivera. “The accomplishments and backgrounds of our fall 2023 entering class demonstrate the life-changing opportunity for upward economic and social mobility that NAU’s exceptional academic programs offer, and I am pleased to see so many Arizonans from all walks of life entrust their educational futures to this great university.”

The fall 2023 semester marks the official start of the Access2Excellence (A2E) tuition program at NAU, which ensures full tuition coverage for Arizona resident students whose family annual income is $65,000 or below—approximately the state’s median household income—or who are members of Arizona’s 22 federally-recognized Native American tribes. This impactful program that powers access and affordability to postsecondary attainment has resulted in a significant increase in new Arizona-resident freshmen and transfer students at NAU, as well as the university’s largest-ever entering class of Native American students. In total, nearly half of Arizona resident students who applied for aid at NAU are eligible for A2E.

In addition to the tremendous impact of A2E, NAU’s incoming class represents the most accomplished—exceeding last year’s previous record mark—Arizonan, and diverse group of students in NAU’s history. This includes a 47 percent increase in new undergraduate Native American students, which brings NAU’s total Native American student enrollment to an all-time high point and underscores the university’s longstanding commitment to Indigenous Peoples.

Importantly, NAU’s reach extends across Arizona through its statewide campuses in Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma, and beyond, which complement its residential Flagstaff Mountain Campus and provide access to a quality, affordable education for more Arizonans. Across all statewide sites (excluding Flagstaff), new undergraduate Arizona resident enrollment increased by 7 percent. Growth in statewide graduate student enrollment is highlighted by a 5 percent increase at the Phoenix Bioscience Core, where NAU offers high-demand allied health programs that support communities throughout the state.

In Flagstaff, NAU is housing a record number of students on campus this fall, with an additional 300 beds added compared to last year. Now, nearly 50 percent of Flagstaff students—over 10,000—live in on-campus housing, ranking NAU in the top 1 percent of universities in the nation for number of students housed on campus. The university prioritizes on-campus housing resources to promote students’ immersion in campus life and foster a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with NAU’s home community in Flagstaff.

Top majors for new undergraduate students include health-related fields, including nursing, dental hygiene, and social work; education and teacher preparation programs; and degrees in high-demand fields aligned with Arizona’s economic growth, such as computer science, engineering, and business.

In total, NAU’s incoming class of undergraduate and graduate students number more than 9,250.