Arizona Western College offers educational, career, and lifelong learning opportunities through innovative partnerships which enhance the lives of people in Yuma and La Paz counties.
Academic, Career Technical and Workforce Education
We offer over 100 degrees and certificates in a wide range of academic and career technical programs, as well as non-credit courses in professional development, customized training, and personal enrichment areas.
More than 300 students reside on our main campus, and we field 8 competitive athletic teams. Our students participate in over 50 campus clubs, and we are home to a challenging Honors Program and curriculum, and a world-class International Program, representing 30 countries from around the globe.
Arizona Western College was the first community college established under the Arizona Community College Law of 1960, sponsored by the late Senator Harold Giss of Yuma.
In 1961, an overwhelming majority of the electorate of Yuma County approved the establishment of a community college district. The College became the first institution of higher education established in Arizona since 1920, when Phoenix College was founded.
After considering various sites, the College acquired the use of a 640-acre site from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation ten miles east of the city of Yuma for the new college. Construction of the original thirteen buildings was accomplished during 1961–1963 and the first class of students enrolled for the Fall Semester 1963.
The College has grown substantially since it opened. The College district encompasses 10,000 square miles, the size of the original Yuma County; however, in 1983, northern Yuma County voted to form its own county, creating La Paz County. Thus, the College district now serves two counties with a population in excess of 180,000. Because of the large district, residence halls were built to better serve the students living beyond commuting distance. More buildings were built as the need arose and capital funds were available.
Today, thirty-seven buildings are on the main campus with additional buildings owned or leased in numerous off-campus locations including the Entrepreneurial Center, centers in Somerton, San Luis, Parker, and a facility in Quartzsite. Additional learning sites are leased from local schools, mobile home parks, and other community agencies.
In 1988, Arizona Western College and Northern Arizona University entered into a collaborative agreement to bring comprehensive post-secondary education to southwest Arizona. Students throughout the area have benefited from the opportunity to attain associate, baccalaureate, master’s degrees, and an educational doctorate at the AWC campus.
The two schools share classrooms, library resources, and faculty members to provide a variety of services to students enrolled in both institutions. In 1996, Arizona Western College, the University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University began a cooperative baccalaureate degree in Agricultural Systems Management.
AWC enrollment has grown from 930 students in the Fall Semester, 1963, to more than 11,400 unduplicated headcount a year. The College is open four days a week—Monday through Thursday. A growing number of distance education, Friday and weekend classes are offered to meet changing student and community needs.