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Tempe, Arizona (AZ) Colleges and Universities

While there are only three public or private, not-for-profit schools in Tempe, there are many schools located within a 10-mile radius. Read about the top schools in several categories, including most program variety and highest graduation rate, to find the school for you.

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School Ranking Overview

The 10-mile radius around Tempe, Arizona, includes numerous college options for students interested in studying just about any field. Many of these schools operate on a private for-profit basis, however, or they only offer a few specialized programs. Seven traditional colleges or universities in the Tempe region are profiled in this article, and all of them offer numerous fields of study. All of them are also either public or private non-profit institutions. The top three schools of the bunch are ranked in the categories listed below:

  • Most Program Variety
  • Lowest Net Price
  • Highest Graduation Rate
  • Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Most Program Variety

The area surrounding Tempe contains a wide array of schools, including community colleges, a university and private schools offering specialized training. Of the mainstream public schools, the following three had the most program variety and offered from about 80 to more than 200 programs.

1 - Arizona State University

The most program variety was available at this public university located in Tempe. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in 2012, the school's 73,378 students chose from approximately 215 programs and could earn undergraduate or graduate certificates, in addition to bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. In its 2014 list, U.S. News & World Report ranked this school as #142 among national universities and noted that popular programs included education, business/management, social sciences, interdisciplinary studies and communication/journalism. At the undergraduate level, the school's business and engineering programs were both ranked in the top 50 in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. The publication also ranked Arizona State University's law school at #29, graduate education school at #24 and graduate business school at #30 as of 2013.

2 - Mesa Community College

Situated about five miles from Tempe in Mesa, this public school had the second-most program variety, with approximately 133 options. Students can pursue undergraduate certificates and associate's degrees at this college. According to the NCES, popular associate's programs in 2011-2012 included business administration, registered nursing, liberal arts, general studies and physical sciences. This school also has transfer agreements with Arizona's three public universities, among other institutions.

3 - GateWay Community College

This public school, located six miles from Tempe in Phoenix, offers about 83 programs. The NCES found that popular certificate programs in 2011-2012, based on the number of awards conferred, included business administration, electrician, licensed practical nursing and automobile mechanics technology. Common areas of study at the associate's level that year were registered nursing and liberal arts/sciences, according to the NCES.

Lowest Net Price

The NCES determines a school's average net price by subtracting financial aid awards from the total cost of attending that institution. Among the public and private, not-for-profit schools near Tempe, the three community colleges outlined below had the lowest net prices, which were all below $8,000. All of the following statistics come from the NCES.

1 - Chandler/Gilbert Community College

Found in Chandler, about nine miles from Tempe, this public school had the lowest net price at $7,313. In 2011-2012, 68% of the full-time beginning students received some type of financial aid, while 58% were awarded grants or scholarships. In 2012-2013, in-state undergraduates paid $1,854 in tuition and fees, and out-of-state students were charged $7,638. Room and board expenses were estimated at $8,960 on-campus and $5,832 off-campus that same year.

2 - South Mountain Community College

This public school is located about seven miles from Tempe in Phoenix, and it was the second-most affordable option with a net price of $7,439. In 2011-2012, 94% of full-time beginning students were awarded financial aid. Grants and scholarships averaging $4,331 were given to 88% of full-time beginning undergraduates that same year. In-state students paid $1,854 in tuition and fees, and students from outside of Arizona were charged $7,638 in 2012-2013.

3 - Mesa Community College

The third-lowest net price of $7,925 was found at this community college, and 76% of full-time beginning students received financial aid in 2011-2012. Tuition and fees were the same as the two schools above; in-state students paid $1,854 and out-of-state students paid $7,638 in 2012-2013.

Highest Graduation Rate

Overall graduation rates determined by the NCES indicate the portion of students who complete their programs within 150% of the normal time, such as six years for bachelor's degrees or three years for associate's degrees. Of the traditional, not-for-profit schools around Tempe, the following three had the highest graduation rates as of 2012, ranging from 47% up to nearly 60%.

1 - Arizona State University

Placing first in terms of graduation rate, Arizona State University featured a figure of 57% for students who started in fall 2006. In addition, the NCES reported that 33% of bachelor's students who began in fall 2006 completed their programs in just four years. According to the NCES, 80% of full-time and 42% of part-time students who began a bachelor's program in fall 2011 returned the following year.

2 - East Valley Institute of Technology

Based about five miles from Tempe in Mesa, this less than 2-year school had the second highest overall graduation rate at 53%, according to the NCES. The NCES found that 68% of full-time and 48% of part-time students who started at this school in fall 2011 returned in fall 2012.

3 - Maricopa Skill Center

This school in Phoenix places third with a graduation rate of 47%. The NCES also reported that 30% of students who started a program in 2009-2010 were able to graduate within their program's normal time of completion. From fall 2011 to fall 2012, the school retained 72% of full-time beginning students and 72% of part-time beginning students.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

This ratio can give prospective students an idea of which schools are likely to feature smaller class sizes and offer more attention from instructors. The three lowest student-faculty ratios for traditional, not-for-profit schools near Tempe were 22:1 or lower.

1 - Maricopa Skill Center

This school leads the list with a student-faculty ratio of 12:1. The NCES reported that the instructional faculty was composed of 43 full-time members in fall 2012, and the school had 906 undergraduates enrolled.

2 - GateWay Community College

The second place school features a student-faculty ratio of 15:1. The NCES reported that the faculty included 279 part-time and 114 full-time instructors in fall 2012 for its 6,720 students.

3 - East Valley Institute of Technology

According to the NCES, this small technology institute had the third lowest student-faculty ratio with a figure of 22:1. The instructional faculty was composed of 5 full-time and 9 part-time members in fall 2012, according to the NCES.

Tempe Area Schools at a Glance

School Name Location School Type Degrees Offered Area Ranking
Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 4-year, public Less than 1-year, postbaccalaureate and post-master's certificates; bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees Most Program Variety,
Highest Graduation Rate
Chandler/Gilbert Community College Chandler, AZ (9.0 miles from Tempe) 2-year, public Less than 1-year, between 1- and 2-year and between 2- and 4-year certificates; associate's degrees Lowest Net Price
East Valley Institute of Technology Mesa, AZ (4.7 miles from Tempe) Less than 2-year, public Less than 1-year and between 1- and 2-year certificates 2nd Highest Graduation Rate,
3rd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
GateWay Community College Phoenix, AZ (6.0 miles from Tempe) 2-year, public Less than 1-year, between 1- and 2-year and between 2- and 4-year certificates; associate's degrees 2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
3rd Most Program Variety
Maricopa Skill Center Phoenix, AZ (6.0 miles from Tempe) Less than 2-year, public Less than 1-year, 1-year and less than 2-year certificates Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
3rd Highest Graduation Rate
Mesa Community College Mesa, AZ (4.5 miles from Tempe) 2-year, public Less than 1-year and between 1- and 2-year certificates; associate's degrees 2nd Most Program Variety,
3rd Lowest Net Price
South Mountain Community College Phoenix, AZ (7.2 miles from Tempe) 2-year, public Less than 1-year and between 1- and 2-year certificates; associate's degrees 2nd Lowest Net Price
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