by Blake Herzog
The Prescott campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has been named Arizona’s best college value, a title it’s held since 2017, by a national financial advice and research firm.
ERAU-Prescott placed No. 85 nationally on the list by SmartAsset, a website with a student loan calculator along with other online financial planning tools. Undergraduate campuses across the country were ranked by annual tuition, average scholarships and grants, average starting salary, living costs and student retention rates.
The campus beat out the three state universities in the survey, and no other Arizona schools were included. ERAU’s Daytona Beach campus came in No. 4 in Florida and No. 219 nationally.
ERAU-Prescott’s annual tuition is much higher than the state schools at $35,654, but average grants and scholarships of $20,443 gets the total much lower for the majority of students.
The survey used in-state tuition costs for the state schools, which ranged between $10,000 and $12,000.
Students’ average starting salary of $69,200 put it ahead of the state schools, while the calculated student living costs of $17,392 was the highest in Arizona but just marginally more expensive than for Arizona State University in Tempe.
ERAU-Prescott’s student retention rate is five points lower than ASU’s at 83%, matching the rate reported by the University of Arizona in Tucson.
The Prescott campus offers degrees in the fields of aviation, engineering, aerospace, cybersecurity, computers and technology, applied science and business. It opened in 1979 and now has about 3,000 students drawn from around the globe.
It’s been at or near the top of several other lists comparing colleges across the nation, including:
- U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges Ranked (No. 1, 2020, in undergraduate aerospace/aeronautical/astronautical engineering programs at schools where a doctorate is not offered for the fourth time).
- Chronicle of Higher Education (Great Colleges to Work For, 2020).
- Aviation Week Network (two students named to top 20 “Tomorrow’s Technology Leaders, 2020).
- Arizona Commerce Authority (125 Best Companies to Work for in Arizona, 2019).