Small: NAU programs work to support degree attainment for adults

To help achieve the goals of Achieve60AZ, Northern Arizona University is making it easier for all Arizona residents to complete a degree and will educate community partners and prospective students about our services and programs at an informal event on June 21.

Doug Small

Achieve60AZ is an initiative put forward by Gov. Ducey’s administration to improve the number of adults, 25 and older, who have earned a post-secondary certificate or degree.

Currently, Arizona hovers around 40 percent and the goal is to increase that number to 60 percent by the year 2030.

The ultimate goal is to grow the economy by developing a skilled workforce to attract industry and jobs to the state.

One way Northern Arizona University is meeting this challenge is through an innovative and affordable new program called, Personalized Learning. Personalized Learning is a competency-based, online learning model that provides working adults with the opportunity to accelerate degree completion by testing out of content they have already mastered through prior training and learning experiences.

Students can also apply previous college credits, making this program one of the most streamlined and affordable pathways for adults to earn their bachelor’s degree.

Through Personalized Learning, students take a lesson pre-test to measure their existing knowledge of that subject area. If the student passes the test, the student demonstrates mastery of the content, completes a topical essay, and then moves on to another lesson.

If the student does not pass the pre-test, the student works through the lesson at his or her own pace, until mastery is achieved.

Currently, five Bachelor’s degree options are available: Computer Information Technology, Liberal Arts, Management, RN-to-BSN and Small Business Administration. A Master’s degree in Computer Information Technology is expected to launch fall 2018.

Of major value to students is the cost structure; there are no extra fees or textbook charges. Everything is provided at one low cost of $3,000 per six-month subscription ($3,750 for the RN-to-BSN program), and, students complete as many lessons and courses as they can within a six-month subscription.

As the state looks to build the economy through a strong workforce, NAU continues to look for innovative ways to provide educational programming to meet this demand.

On June 21 from 6-8 p.m., NAU is hosting a “Discover Personalized Learning” event for community partners and prospective students at its North Valley campus in Phoenix, located at 15451 N. 28th Ave.

For more information, contact NAU at 1-800-628-0040 or

Editor’s Note: Mr. Small is director of Strategic Partnerships at Northern Arizona University.

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