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ASU a top choice for Calif. residents

May 11, 2012

Arizona State University has become a leading choice for California students seeking a quality university education at an affordable tuition rate, according to national university enrollment data.

World-class faculty, dynamic student life and stellar academics, coupled with California’s increasing tuition rates and enrollment caps, make ASU a perfect selection for prospective students.

In 2010, the university enrolled 1,065 California freshmen. ASU has seen a 70 percent increase in California students in five years looking back to 2005, when the university enrolled only 742 freshmen.

Warm weather aside, many west coast residents are flocking to Arizona seeking a budget-friendly education that won’t set them increasingly in debt. With ASU’s four-year graduation rate at 30 percent – compared to many California schools' four-year graduation rate of 10 percent – less time spent at university can make a large financial difference.  

“The cost of tuition at ASU compared to the CSU system was definitely a factor in my decision [to attend to ASU],” said Austin Jack, a senior at Franklin High in Elk Grove, Calif., who will be attending the university in the fall. “I would be paying less in the four years at ASU than I would at the five or six years at a CSU it would take to graduate.”

With the influx of out-of-state students, ASU has created additional methods to help pay for college with incentives such as the Western Undergraduate Exchange Program, scholarships and grants.

“ASU has always been an attractive option for students living in other states because of the quality of education and affordable tuition,” said David Burge, executive director of undergraduate admissions. “With good scholarships specifically for California students, it is no surprise that more and more students are choosing Arizona State University for their undergraduate degree."

Experts say that another leading factor for the trend is budget cuts that have forced many California schools to increase admission requirements, while also cutting classes being offered.

For ASU sophomore and graduate of Jesuit High School in Carmichael, Calif., Glen Anderson, faculty at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication have gone above and beyond to make sure he and his classmates stay aligned with their charted course paths.

“I have loved every second at the Cronkite School," Anderson says. "One of the best things about the Cronkite School though is their willingness to open more classes as the need arises. They are excellent about recognizing when a class fills up and opening a new one.”

Arizona’s close proximity to the Golden State is another added incentive for students looking to get a full college experience without going too far away from home.  

“ASU is just far enough away from my home in Sacramento that if there is an emergency and I need to get home, I can get a cheap flight or drive home in a day if necessary,” Anderson says. “It is also far enough away that I can be independent, which was a huge factor. I can let myself see where college takes me, but I have a safety net to fall back on in my parents.”

In choosing to become a Sun Devil, students also are making an investment in their futures. According to a national survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal, ASU ranked fifth in a list of the top universities favored by employers for hiring college graduates. The study aimed to indentify "the majors and schools that best prepare students to land jobs that are satisfying, well-paid and have growth potential.”

According to Burge, the university has four full-time recruiters positioned in southern California to help prospective students and their parents get to know ASU and negotiate the admissions process.

There also is an extremely active and visible ASU alumni base in California so future Sun Devils and their parents will have a supporting community close to home.