Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, is one of the United States’ five most populous cities. It is also the hottest city in the country, with the summer temperatures climbing above 100 degrees Fahrenheit every now and then. But that doesn’t stop hundreds of thousands of students from flocking to this city to pursue higher education.

And if you want to follow in their footsteps and study in Phoenix, the good news is that you won’t run short of options. Within 25 miles of the city, you will find more or less 90 universities and colleges. Below, we have listed for you five cheap universities in Phoenix.

Affordable Schools in Phoenix for International Students

1. Arizona State University

With a student population of nearly 111,250, Arizona State University (ASU) is one of the most populous universities in the US. Yet it somehow manages to maintain an impressive student-to-faculty ratio of 20:1. The public research university has five campuses scattered across the Phoenix metropolitan area, with the main one occupying 660-plus acres of land in Temple, at a distance of around eight miles from downtown Phoenix. It is organized into 17 colleges, schools, and institutes that employ 4,400 academic staff, including four Nobel laureates and six Pulitzer winners. Its academic programs include over 350 undergraduate majors, and more than 450 graduate degree and certificate programs. This cheap university in Phoenix has been around since 1885. It is listed among the world’s top 150 universities in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) 2019.

You won’t find a cheaper option than ASU in Phoenix if you are an Arizona resident. However, the tuitions are relatively high for out-of-state and international students. But you may find some financial aid in the form of a scholarship or loan coming your way if you apply for it. One amazing fact about this university is that its acceptance rate is north of 80 percent.

2. Ottawa University

  • Tuition Fees: From $14,970/Year

Although Ottawa University (OU) is primarily based in Ottawa, Kansas, it has a 32,000-square-foot satellite campus placed along the Interstate 17 (I-17) corridor between Peoria and Dunlap Avenues in Phoenix. It is a non-profit, private Baptist university that came into being in 1865. It offers 25 bachelor’s programs, 10 master’s programs, and four graduate certificate programs. The small university offers higher education to its 4,000-plus students through three academic schools, maintaining a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1. So far, this cheap university in Phoenix has produced over 22,000 graduates. It claims 43rd spot in the US News’ Best Regional Colleges Midwest Rankings 2020.

Being a private university, OU doesn’t charge out-of-state and international students more tuition than what it charges in-state students. And compared to most other private universities in Arizona, it is very affordable. Moreover, you are to find financial aid options like scholarships, awards, grants, and loans to further reduce or manage your cost of attendance. However, this university is incredibly selective, accepting only 26 out of every 100 applicants.   

3. Grand Canyon University

Like OU, Grand Canyon University (GCU), too, is a non-profit, private Christian university. However, the big difference is that this one isn’t what you call a small university. In fact, it’s the world’s most populous Christian university, with about 90,500 students currently enrolled. But when it began its journey in 1949, it had roughly 100 students and 16 faculty. The university has multiple campuses situated in Phoenix. Through its nine colleges, it facilitates more than 200 academic programs at undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. It ranks between 293rd and 381st in the US News’ National University Rankings 2020.

GCU too doesn’t charge in-state, out-of-state, and international students differently. They all have to pay the same tuition amount, which is slightly greater than what OU charges. But again, if comparisons are drawn with other private universities in Arizona, it will be listed among the most affordable ones. The acceptance rate at GCU is 67 percent, making it a lot less selective than OU.

4. DeVry University

Founded in 1931, DeVry University is a non-religiously affiliated private university with more than 45 campuses scattered across 18 states in the US. Three of those campuses are located in the state of Arizona, including one on West Dunlap Avenue in Phoenix. The university currently offers over 80 academic programs, including 46 bachelor’s and 19 master’s programs. It is organized into five colleges. Its total enrolment stands at over 25,000, including nearly 18,000 undergraduate students and over 7,000 graduate students. However, the three Arizona campuses together have fewer than 700 students. In the US News’ Best Regional Universities Midwest Rankings 2020, it ranks between 117th and 153rd.

Like the other two private universities mentioned above, this cheap university in Phoenix, too, doesn’t have different tuition rates for students who come from Arizona, other US states, and international territories. Its cost of attendance lies between those of OU and GCU, making it one of the most affordable private universities in the state. Additionally, several financial aid options like scholarships, grants, and loans are available at this university. The acceptance rate here is a whopping 95 percent.  

5. Arizona Christian University

  • Tuition Fees: $26,240/Year

What once was established as Southwestern Conservative Baptist Bible College in 1960 is now known as Arizona Christian University (ACU). It is a non-denominational Christian liberal arts university with a little more than 800 students. The number of academic staff is fewer than a hundred, making its student-to-faculty ratio 13:1. The undergraduate-only university offers a bunch of bachelor’s and associate programs. Its urban campus encompasses 35 acres of land in Phoenix. This cheap university in Phoenix ranks 22nd in the US News’ Best Regional Colleges West Rankings 2020.

Tuitions at ACU are higher than those at all four universities listed above. But the good news is that you have fair chances of receiving some need-based financial aid here. The non-profit, private university currently provides 53 percent of its full-time undergraduate students with such financial aid, with the average need-based scholarship or grant award being $8,507. It has an acceptance rate of 56 percent.


We hope that this article on the cheapest universities in Phoenix was helpful. To know more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students.

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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