Flagstaff, No. 10 on Travel + Leisure’s list of best college towns, is the home of Northern Arizona University’s main campus, which has a rich history of delivering a top-quality education. Today, that mission is enhanced by cutting-edge research and graduate programs, distance education, and service to many Arizona communities.
The university has a student population of more than 18,000 at its main campus in Flagstaff and more than 7,000 online and at 35 statewide locations, including the innovative NAU-Yavapai campus in Prescott Valley, which makes higher education affordable and accessible for today’s students. The main focus of the university is undergraduate education, particularly in the fields of education, health professions, business, and engineering. It also has a wide range of graduate programs and first-rate research facilities.
Much of the university’s research is centered on environmental sustainability, climate, and biosciences. This commitment to sustainability is reflected throughout the university’s operations, as the Flagstaff campus is home to four buildings with “Gold” ratings from the Leadership Energy and Environment Design (LEED) building rating system from the U.S. Green Building Council. The 60,000-square-foot Applied Research and Development (ARD) building is one of the greenest buildings in the world, with a “Platinum” LEED rating, the highest rating possible.
The top floor of the three-story ARD building is home to the university’s Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics, a research facility focused on understanding the evolution, ecology, and epidemiology of a number of disease-causing bacteria. In this lab, scientists develop strategic approaches to combating bioterrorist attacks or outbreaks of infectious disease.
The 740-acre Flagstaff campus features several buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also home to multiple galleries and auditoriums that host art shows and performances by students, faculty, and nationally-known professionals. The university hosts an exciting array of speakers throughout the year from inside and outside academia.
Intercollegiate athletics provide a sense of pride and a great rallying point for Northern Arizona University students, faculty, and staff, as well as the Flagstaff community. NAU, a member of the Big Sky Conference, sponsors 15 NCAA Division 1 athletic programs and boasts success both on and off the field. The Lumberjack student-athletes have recorded a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or better in 18 out of the last 19 semesters. This success culminated in the 2013 President’s Cup Award, the conference’s highest honor for recognizing the academic achievement of a university’s student-athletes.
Flagstaff’s higher education institutions also include Coconino Community College (CCC), which was established in 1991, and currently serves all of Coconino County, covering an immense 18,000-square-mile area.
When CCC first opened its doors, nearly 1,000 students enrolled at the Flagstaff campus in the first semester. More than 20 years later, the College has experienced an astounding growth rate and today serves nearly 10,000 learners per year with three main campuses: Flagstaff Lone Tree Campus; Flagstaff Fourth Street Campus and Page/Lake Powell Campus.
CCC provides its learners with affordable tuition rates and over 60 certificates & degrees. One of the more innovative programs initiated by the College through a cooperative agreement with Northern Arizona University is the CCC2NAU program (www.CCC2NAU.info), a practical way to smooth the student’s path toward a bachelor’s degree with tailored advisement, institutional collaboration, and a seamless transition from CCC to NAU.
Flagstaff is also one of the six campuses of College America – a school designed to offer convenient college programs for working adults.
Over 9,500 students attend the public schools that make up the kindergarten through 12th grade Flagstaff Unified School District (FUSD).
Since the district was founded in a log cabin in 1883, the city has always taken great pride in its public education. FUSD employs teachers, counselors, librarians, administrators, and support staff. Most of our teachers have master’s and doctorate degrees in education. FUSD students consistently score above state and national averages on standardized achievement tests and the dropout rates are lower than the state average.
FUSD has 15 comprehensive school sites that include two elementary magnet schools, four middle school academies and two high school academies; Advanced Placement and Technology and Engineering. In addition to traditional classes, high school students also have opportunities to take high school dual-enrollment classes for college credit, career and technical education, music, fine art, drama, foreign language and online courses. Elementary students are offered before and after-school programs, multi-age classroom opportunities, artists in residence, as well as intervention and enrichment opportunities for every student.
For parents searching for other educational options, Flagstaff has a diverse choice of charter, religious and private schools from which to choose. Some have open enrollments and are free, while others require applications and tuition. There are also a variety of accredited preschools and childcare programs for younger children.
Other educational resources for children in Flagstaff include Willow Bend Environmental Education Center, a nonprofit offshoot of the Coconino Natural Resource Conservation District. It is dedicated to nurturing a sense of place through hands-on education programs and has a mission to provide education outreach services that build environmental awareness and an ethic of responsible stewardship of our natural and cultural resources.
In 2011 and 2012, Flagstaff was named one of the “100 Best Communities for Young People” by the America’s Promise Alliance, which recognized communities most dedicated to helping local youth graduate from high school.