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Northern Arizona University (NAU) is a public research institution located in Flagstaff, Arizona. Founded in 1899, it is a member of the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities. The university is classified as an R2: doctoral university with high research activity.

Overview of Northern Arizona University (NAU)

The university strives to lead the way to a better Arizona and a sustainable world through personalized attention to student success and scholarly excellence. This guides all academic and service planning, policies, and programs. Other values include integrity, discovery, diversity, and excellence.

The total student population at Northern Arizona University is 28,700+, with 24,162 enrolled in undergraduate programs. The school employs approximately 1,000 full-time and 540 part-time faculty members who focus solely on instruction. There are also 24 additional full-time professors employed for research and public service purposes. Additionally, there are 530 graduate assistant positions, 339 of which provide instructional support and 191 research positions. The student-to-faculty ratio is 21:1. Notably, this is above the national average reported by the National Center for Education Statistics in 2018, which means students may not receive as much individualized attention as they can at other institutions.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting City: Small
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 21:1
Graduation Rate 59%
Year Founded 1899

Student Enrollment

Total Students28,711


Undergraduate Student

Male 8,940
Female 15,222

Graduate Student

Male 1,683
Female 2,866

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NAU Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 14,236
Female 28,636


Male 10,962
Female 22,622

Acceptance Rate78%

Male 77%
Female 79%

Enrollment 5,350

Male 1,754
Female 3,393
Application Fee $25
High School GPA Required
High School Rank NA
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses NA
Recommendations NA
SAT/ACT Recommended
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline August 1
Common Application Accepted No

NAU Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

The cost of attending Northern Arizona University depends on several factors including degree type, enrollment status, and residency. The estimated cost of tuition for in-state, undergraduate students is $11,024 per year. Distance learners will pay slightly more, with a projected tuition cost of $11,160. Graduate students will be charged around $11,390 per year, with online learners at this level paying about $14,040 per year.

It's worth noting that rates differ for out-of-state students. As with many other public institutions, Northern Arizona University does charge non-residents more per credit hour.

Additionally, prospective students should be prepared to pay for other fees, housing, meals, books, and supplies. The university projects that those attending classes on campus will spend approximately $16,628 to cover these expenses, while those living off campus will pay closer to $22,148. Northern Arizona University also charges a flat fee of $1,250 per student, per year.

According to the Institute for College Access and Success, Northern Arizona University students tend to graduate with much less debt than the national average. A contributing factor to this is the number of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid awards provided by the institution. In 2020, students received over $400 million in support. All students are encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each fiscal year. Scholarships are awarded, however, based on academic merit and personal background in addition to financial need. As of the 2020-2021 academic year, 98% of full-time, beginning, undergraduate students received some form of financial aid. The majority of money awarded was in the form of grants and scholarships, but 36% of students still required loans to attend the university.

Average net price 2020-2021
Net Price $16,059
Average Total Aid $12,922
Students Receiving Financial Aid 98%
Room & Board $11,338

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $11,896
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $26,642
  • Books and Supplies - $900
  • Room & Board - $11,338
  • Other - $4,720


Northern Arizona University allows students to pursue their passions. With eight academic colleges, the institution offers a wide variety of programs of study to help enrich lives and create opportunities in Arizona and beyond.

Students can choose from over 180 undergraduate degrees, as well as over 90 undergraduate and graduate certificates in the following departments:

  • College of Arts and Letters
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering, Informatics, and Applied Sciences
  • College of Health and Human Services
  • College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences
  • W.A. Franke College of Business

The university also offers Personalized Learning (PL), which is a collection of online and competency-based bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. These degrees incorporate innovative teaching and learning methods and are designed specifically for non-traditional, adult learners seeking flexibility and access to one-on-one academic support from faculty and staff.

The retention rate for first-time, full-time, undergraduate freshmen who began their studies in 2020 was 74%. For first-time, part-time, undergraduate students the retention rate was 45%. The national average is 68%, which means Northern Arizona University is performing better than many other institutions. This data also indicates that the majority of full-time students enrolled at the university were happy enough with their experience to return in 2020.

The overall graduation rate for full-time, first-time students who began their studies in fall 2015 was 59%. This data shows how frequently students complete their degrees or certificate programs within 150% of standard time. While 45% of full-time, first-time students graduated within four years, the majority of those enrolled completed their studies within six years.

Northern Arizona University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, one of six agencies recognized by the United State Department of Education. While the commission accredits institutions, many of the university’s programs are also individually accredited by other agencies. Some prominent examples include the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Student Population Total

Student Population 28,711

Evening Classes : No
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Business Majors 1,006 Total Graduates / 16%
Business Administration and Management, General 309 Graduates
Hospitality Administration/Management, General 210 Graduates
Finance, General 119 Graduates
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 107 Graduates
All Health Professions and Related Programs Majors 924 Total Graduates / 15%
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 526 Graduates
Public Health, General 278 Graduates
Dental Hygiene/Hygienist 63 Graduates
Communication Sciences and Disorders, General 57 Graduates
All Education Majors 526 Total Graduates / 9%
Elementary Education and Teaching 278 Graduates
Special Education and Teaching, General 93 Graduates
English/Language Arts Teacher Education 36 Graduates
History Teacher Education 24 Graduates
Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities 496 Total Graduates / 8%
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies 496 Graduates
All Social Sciences Majors 443 Total Graduates / 7%
Criminology 272 Graduates
Sociology, General 65 Graduates
Political Science and Government, General 46 Graduates
International Relations and Affairs 35 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 45%

Outcome & Salary

Northern Arizona University works hard to connect students and alumni to valuable employment opportunities such as internships, part-time jobs, and full-time careers. The institution hosts several career fairs, workshops, and networking events throughout the year. It also offers on-campus interviewing, which can be convenient for both students and potential employers.

According to the institution’s 2005 Graduate Student Alumni Report, 99% of alumni of Northern Arizona University rate their experience as either good or excellent and 95% responded they would start over again at the institution. Additionally, 93% of alumni were satisfied with the preparation they received from their graduate program to help in preparing them for their current position.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $53,900
College Grads Average Salary $68,000
College Grads Mid Career Salary $95,700
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $680,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,637,000
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $64,236
10 Year Projected ROI $615,764
20 Year Projected ROI $1,572,764
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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