In an effort to continue expanding the local campus based on the needs of the community, the University of Arizona in Nogales, formerly known as UA South, has begun offering a new bachelor’s degree program in general studies, starting this fall semester.
The new program, according to Student Services Coordinator Alan Aguirre, is aimed at helping students complete a degree within the College of Humanities, using the transferrable credits that they bring from other colleges into the UArizona.
“We, at times, work with a lot of students that have a lot of credits in different areas. They’re always wondering… ‘What can I do with this, or what degree can I apply this to?’” Aguirre told the NI. “That’s the purpose of the bachelor of general studies, to kind of lump in what the student is already bringing.”
According to Sarah Wieland, the UArizona assistant vice provost of distance eduction, the program offered in Nogales consists of three branches: economy and industry; social behavior and human understanding; and science, technology, health and society.
If administrators see a greater demand, she said, they can later expand to include other branches of expertise for students at the campus.
The bachelor’s in general studies degree joins the list of 15 bachelor degree programs offered at the University of Arizona in Nogales campus, some of which are fully online and others which include hybrid instruction. In addition, Wieland said, there are another eight certification programs available, such as one to obtain teaching credentials.
“We offer some undergraduate certificate programs that are a little faster completion track… so they’re good additions for people in the workforce that might be looking to upscale in certain areas or develop new areas of expertise,” Wieland said of those who have already obtained their bachelor’s or are already in the workforce.
As of Aug. 31, the unofficial enrollment tally for the University of Arizona in Nogales consisted of 24 students. That was a very slight increase from the fall 2020 semester, when the school saw 23 students enrolled in the campus. In fall 2019, enrollment was 29 students.
“Our enrollment at the (UArizona in Nogales) is highly dependent on the Pima Community College enrollment and the students on transfer pathways from Pima, so we’re experiencing a little delay with the same decline that we’ve seen during COVID,” Wieland said, referring to many students opting out of school during the pandemic.
She added that as the COVID-19 pandemic hopefully subsides, more hybrid options that include in-person instruction may become more typical at the Nogales campus, something that Aguirre believed would attract more students.
“In the conversations that I’ve had, it sounds like they (students) look forward to having a lot of in-person stuff, so we’re excited for that opportunity,” Aguirre said, adding that the general studies program featured more in-person classes.
Regional tuition rate
Wieland added that, given the different student demographics in Nogales compared to the main campus in Tucson, administrators also amended the tuition rates for local students to allow them more flexibility in terms of the amount of money and workload that they commit to each semester.
Wieland said that the regional tuition rate, which is calculated on a per-credit basis varying between $300 to $400 per unit, is targeted at what they call “post-traditional” students.
“Students who have a lot of credits from different institutions or might be working adults, might have families to take care, they’re looking for more flexibility in their degree program and how they complete their bachelor’s degree,” she said.
She added that it’s the same degree, just different tuition rate compared to the students in Tucson, where students pay a different rate to take into account the added social experience of the main campus.
That flexibility with tuition rates at the Nogales campus, along with its location on the border, served as a big advantage for 20-year-old Anibal Hernandez, an Ambos Nogales native who started his junior year of university this semester.
Hernandez said he started his academic career at Pima Community College in Nogales in 2018. This semester, he said, he transferred to the University of Arizona in Nogales to continue pursuing his bachelor’s in psychology.
“I live in Mexico and I travel back and forth for classes, so it’s a big help to have this campus as an option. It saves me a lot of money,” Hernandez said. “If I lived (in Tucson), I’d have to get an apartment, spend on gasoline, and that all makes it more expensive, so it’s not just school costs.”
The University of Arizona in Nogales is located at 2021 N. Grand Ave.
For drop-in queries, its hours of operation are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
You can also find more information at nogales.arizona.edu, or call (520) 287-8632.