NAU to launch Yavapai College campus

Flagstaff, AZ – Northern Arizona University is launching a new four-year degree program at Yavapai College in Prescott Valley. It's part of a larger plan to create more affordable higher education options in Arizona, and boost the number of bachelor degrees awarded.

NAU-Yavapai will open in the fall in a new 10,000 square foot addition to the Prescott Valley public library. It's aim is to become a new kind of Arizona university, offering a high quality baccalaureate degree at about a third the cost of a degree at one of the state's three large research institutions. Tom Bauer is an NAU spokesman.

"We're not recreating another standard university, what we're doing is we're rethinking the whole university experience, where someone can go and pretty much graduate certainly in less than 4 years, who knows who fast, not necessarily on a semester system, they can go 12 months a year, they can get in, get out "

Governor Jan Brewer has challenged the universities to double the number of bachelor's degrees they award in the next decade. That's seen as a necessary step to keeping Arizona economically competitive. The trick is to make those degrees affordable. Bauer says NAU-Yavapai will cut costs in several ways.

"Most likely these would be students who live in the area, it would be a very limited number of courses we wouldn't have a 100 or so majors like we have in Flagstaff, we'd have 3 or 4 to start with. It would be very teacher focused."

NAU-Yavapai is one of four regional university campuses the presidents of the three state universities want to open by 2012. They also plan to open a fourth baccalaureate campus as soon as next year. The location of that campus will be announced in August. Lake Havasu City and Show Low have expressed interest. Regents largely backed the presidents' plan at their meeting yesterday in Flagstaff. But they questioned its cost at a time when the universities are already facing budget cuts, hiring freezes and furloughs.