A promise to Arizona: Report focuses on board’s promise to Arizona during global pandemic, improving educational outcomes and state’s future

Photo of students interacting outside of ASU's historic Old Main building

A promise to Arizona: Report focuses on board’s promise to Arizona during global pandemic, improving educational outcomes and state’s future

August 26, 2021

Focusing on educational outcomes for students, ensuring affordable access to the universities, conducting research to aid the state during a during a global pandemic, and prioritizing the health of students, the Arizona Board of Regents Fiscal Year 2021 Annual Report, approved by the board today, details enterprise accomplishments that are driving educational outcomes and the state forward.

“Against the backdrop of the pandemic, which challenged higher education across the country, Arizona’s public universities remained resilient, rising together to the shared challenge of our time,” said ABOR Chair Lyndel Manson. “It is a testimony to the promise the board has made to Arizona - to increase access to quality, affordable education and to deliver solutions for our state and beyond. During this past year, our universities continued to remain critical partners for the state in the extraordinary efforts to battle the pandemic. Arizona resident students had no increase in their tuition. The universities provided record institutional gift aid to help students with their education. And, the university system continues to be a major economic driver for the state. These are but a few examples and I’m pleased to offer this annual report that chronicles the outcomes of the board’s promise, our strategic plan and the vast achievements of the universities.”

Key highlights from the report include:

  • An indicator of improving educational outcomes, Arizona’s public universities – Arizona’s largest provider of higher education – had overall growth in enrollment in fiscal year 2021.  Nearly 204,500 students were enrolled in fall 2020, a 4.5 percent year-over-year increase from fall 2019.
  • José Luis Cruz Rivera was appointed by the board as the 17th president of Northern Arizona University. During his first address to the campus, President Cruz Rivera shared his vision of a future characterized by a spirit of inclusion, transparency and shared governance.
  • Through a targeted approach to workforce and economic development in high-value industries to enhance Arizona’s competitiveness, the board’s New Economy Initiative invests in areas of strength at the three universities. The fiscal year 2022 state budget includes $68.5 million in ongoing funds and $37.4 million in one-time dollars for the initiative.
  • Designed to enhance Arizona by opening the door of opportunity to students from low-income families, the Arizona Promise Program scholarship is a guaranteed scholarship to cover university tuition and fees. The fiscal year 2022 state budget includes $7.5 million for the program and the board pledges to cover all eligible students.
  • For the second consecutive year, there is no increase in undergraduate resident tuition at Arizona’s public universities for the 2021-22 academic year. At Arizona State University, there is no tuition increase for current and incoming students, both undergraduate and graduate, resident and non-resident.
  • From serving as mass vaccination sites to developing new testing methods, the university enterprise has been and remains critical to the state in responding to and managing the COVID-19 pandemic. The universities continue to move forward during the pandemic, maintaining academic excellence, safety of students, faculty and staff, and access to quality higher education.
  • Arizona’s public universities substantially increased research activity during the past year while pivoting efforts of hundreds of researchers to aid the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fiscal year 2020, Arizona’s public universities research expenditures increased year-over-year by $55.1 million or 3.8 percent to exceed $1.488 billion.
  • It was a year to celebrate in athletics at the universities with highlights including: the University of Arizona Women’s basketball going to the NCAA championship game for the first time in the university’s history; ASU’s water polo flourishing into a top-four program; and the NAU men’s Cross Country team winning its fourth national title in five years at the NCAA Championship.



Sarah Harper, 602-229-2542, 602-402-1341 | Sarah.K.Harper@azregents.edu
Julie Newberg, 602-229-2534 | julie.newberg@azregents.edu