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Enrollment rate at Arizona public universities rises in 2017

(Facebook/The University of Arizona)

PHOENIX — More students are enrolling in one of Arizona’s three public universities than ever before, the Arizona Board of Regents announced Thursday.

According to the Regents, 179,102 students enrolled at Arizona State University, University of Arizona or Northern Arizona University this fall. That was an increase of 7,311 students compared to last year.

The overall enrollment rate rose 4.3 percent among the three universities, with undergraduate enrollment rising 4.1 percent and graduate enrollment up 4.9 percent.

Enrollment rates differed at each individual university: Enrollment at ASU rose 5.5 percent, while UofA rose 2.8 percent and NAU rose just 2.4 percent.

Regents President Eileen Klein told KTAR News 92.3 FM that the increase in enrollment is not only a reflection of how many Arizona students choose to stay in state for school, but how many out-of-state and international students choose Arizona for a higher education.

Out-of-state and international students “add diversity and richness to our campuses,” she said, adding that it is a competitive environment for attracting students.

Klein said the Regents report also found that students are showing up better prepared for college than ever before, with 87 percent of students coming into colleges with no deficiencies and an average first-term GPA of 3.0.

This showed that students who enter into Arizona’s public universities are more likely to be retained and eventually graduate, which makes the workforce in the state more robust.

“It’s important that we’re able to take students through to graduation and onto good careers,” Klein said.

Klein said a majority of students are enrolling in majors like business, marketing, management and health services, but added there is one major that struggles more than any other: Teaching.

The Regents president said this is a problem because now the state needs to think about “new ways to prepare classroom teachers so K-12 education has the teachers they need,” she said.

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