PSU replaces ASU West campus and AzTech replaces ASU Polytechnic campus.
Changing Directions: Each campus adopts a separate mission, branding & cost.
To put Greater Phoenix's population of 4.1 million into perspective, consider that Oregon's population of 3.8 million and New Mexico's population of 2 million each has several public universities while Arizona only has 3. And, Utah has two more public universities than AZ. Moreover, San Diego County has 3 public universities within its 3.1 million population, the Austin-San Antonio Corridor has 4 public universities within its 3.7 million population, and Colorado's Front Range has several public universities within its 4.1 million population base.
Although Oregon and New Mexico established their state universities across rural locations throughout their large-size areas, it is still more cost-effective to establish a university in an urbanized setting than in a rural location. Moreover, it is certainly cheaper and quicker to convert an existing university branch campus into a free-standing state university than it is to construct from scratch a brand new public university that is located somewhere else. The majority of students in Arizona prefer living and studying in the urban, metropolitan areas.
Other conservative states (Oklahoma, Kentucky, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Alabama) have 6 or more public universities each despite each having a population size that is less than or slightly more than that of Greater Phoenix. And, Indiana, Tennessee, and Washington have population sizes similiar to Arizona while also having 6 or more public universities each. Thus, it becomes quite a bargain and without extravagance to have 3 public universities located in Greater Phoenix totalling 5 state universities in AZ.
Arizona's population distribution is heavily skewed since an estimated 70% of the statewide population resides in Greater Phoenix. As such, since more than 3 out of every 5 Arizonans live in Greater Phoenix, it then makes sense if 3 out of the 5 state universities are located in Greater Phoenix, too. Likewise, having 4 out of the 5 state universities located in Greater Phoenix and Greater Tucson combined remains consistent with 4 out of every 5 Arizonans (80%) living in these areas as part of a fast-growing, but disconnected Sun Corridor region.