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Arizona college students head back to school; ASU, UA catering to Californians

Posted at 4:33 AM, Aug 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-16 08:38:17-04

On Thursday, thousands of students at Arizona State University will be heading back to school. 

Next week, the Wildcats in Tucson at the University of Arizona will head to class.

Among all of the hometown students, there will be a major surge in those from our neighbor next door: California. 

Recruiters have said it is just the perfect distance away from home; not too close, not too far. 

The most recent data from ASU is from 2015 and it said the school saw their biggest jump in California transplants that year with more than 1,400 incoming freshman students.  

The UA had more than 1,500 students becoming Wildcats from California in 2015. Data from this year states that 1,300 freshman from California will be starting next week. 

UA's Senior Director for Undergraduate Recruitment, Stefanie Basij, said she is not surprised by the influx. They have been seeing the interest surge for the last decade or so and they cater to it. 

"We offer programs throughout the year on campus for students to visit," said Stefanie Basij. "Our visit numbers are up right now. We even host events in California in the spring for students and we invite students who are sophomores in high school."

This is a part of an ongoing recruiting effort to lure in out-of-state students who pay more in tuition dollars at Arizona universities. There is also a hope that those years of schooling lead to a permanent Arizona residency after a student gets their diploma. 

Our state leaders have been telling Californians for years that "Arizona is open for business" and these "bright, young minds are just another part of the equation." 

"I think making sure that the students have placement, you know, post-degree is important to us," explained Basij. "Whether that's with us or whether that's seeking that opportunity - we understand."

As for exactly how many actually stay after they graduate, those numbers are not exactly clear.

But, Basij said that even if they do leave, often times it's word of mouth that brings people back. She said there are many alumni groups and events hosted in California that push students to make the decision to leave California for school.

When ASU starts Thursday, wherever these students are from, they report a more than 10-percent increase in the overall number of freshman students in just one year.