Return to Headlines

Initiative helps motivate YUHSD students to attend state universities

Yuma Union High School District has partnered with three major state universities to help motivate students to pursue their post-graduate interests, opening the door for many who were not certain college attendance was a part of their futures. 

As part of a collaboration between the high school district, Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University, Helios Education Foundation, and the Arizona Department of Education, YUHSD seniors, who meet certain grade-point-average and Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) admissions standards, will receive a letter informing them they qualify for admission. 

“This, in many ways, is a game-changer for Yuma Union High School District students,” YUHSD Associate Superintendent Lisa Anderson said. “We have so many students who may have motivation to attend a college or university, but may not realize that they qualify. Now, it’s the universities reaching out telling them, ‘We want you. We value what you’ve done during your time in high school.’ That can be a major factor for many students, especially those who had previously ruled out that option.” 

While similar initiatives have taken part across the state, this is the first one in the state that included all three major public universities. The University of Arizona and ASU have similar requirements, while NAU has some slight variations, but it’s likely that if a student qualifies for acceptance to one university they may also qualify for the others as well. 

“Traditionally, students ask the universities to admit them and wait to see if they are accepted,” ASU Director of the Decision Center for Educational Excellence Joe O’Reilly said. “Some students never apply because they think they will not be accepted, they can’t afford it, and/or the application process is intimidating and not worth the effort for something that may not happen. 

“This project turns the admissions process on its head and eliminates or minimizes all those barriers. Now, the universities accept students without any paperwork and are the ones asking students to say yes and enroll. It is up to the student to decide to accept or not. The student is the decisionmaker, the university has already agreed to accept the student.”

Students who qualify should expect to receive letters sometime in October, and are asked to bring the letter to their school counselor upon receipt. In the meantime, families are highly encouraged to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA window for the 2022-23 school year opens on October 1. 

Eric Patten
epatten@yumaunion.org