Catholic University of America

Offers Business Management Degree in Tucson

By Tom Leyde

The prestigious Catholic University of America has launched a four-year business management degree program in Tucson that could be a template for similar programs elsewhere in the United States.

CUA was established in 1887 and is based in Washington, D.C. The satellite program in Tucson began in the fall of 2020, in association with Pima Community College. It started with 12 students, known as “trailblazers.” This fall the program hopes to enroll 25 students.

Tucson-area students were attracted to the program because of its size, affordability and connections to local employers, school officials said. Through local scholarships and grants, students have an opportunity to graduate with little or no student debt.

CUA began working with more than 300 members of the Tucson business community in 2017 to create the program from scratch. Its goal was to offer a high-quality, low-cost, career-oriented business degree to underserved students in the Southwest. 

CUA invested about $1.79 million in the Tucson program, including about $200,000 contributed by the Tucson business community, said Keiran Roche, CUA Tucson program director.

The cost of the four-year program is about $35,000, compared to about $30,000 annually for Arizona residents attending the University of Arizona.

Brittney Orozco, 25, of Tucson enrolled in the pilot program last fall as a freshman. She had attended the University of Arizona, but wasn’t sure what kind of career she wanted.

“I am so glad I enrolled in the new Tucson business program,” she said. “I can tell I am a part of something special that will set me up for a rewarding career.”

Orozco said that after graduating she would like to find a job in resource development and marketing. She was attracted to CUA Tucson because of the low cost and the size of the classes, which are taught at the downtown campus of Pima Community College.

Elaine Yee, 40, of Tucson has enrolled for this fall’s term. “I need a business background to do what I want to do here in Tucson,” she said. “I want to stay in Tucson.”

The program is overseen by CUA’s Metropolitan School of Professional Studies in collaboration with the Busch School of Business. Roche said the program emphasizes Catholic values.

“We offer a liberal arts degree and (instruction on) how to be a force for good,” he said. “Show up and commit and we will support you,” he told parents and potential students at a May 1 presentation at Victory Outreach Tucson.

Besides graduating with a BA degree, students who complete the four-year program also will earn an Associate of Arts degree from Pima Community College. “All in all, it’s a fantastic experience,” Roche said.

Roche described the classes offered as hybrid. The first two years classes are taught by PCC instructors. CUA instructors teach classes in years three and four.

“I urge you to take advantage of this program,” Humberto S. Lopez told the audience at Victory Outreach Tucson in a Skype appearance. Lopez is chair and co-founder of HSL Properties.

“I’m committed to this program,” said Jim Click, fpresident of Jim Click Automotive Team.

Click and Lopez are offering local students scholarships of $3,000 a year for four years. Coupled with a Pell Grant (about $6,300 a year), students are fairly certain of graduating with no outstanding student debt.

Paid employment projects and internships are also part of the program. Two of the first-year students worked part time at a Jim Click auto dealerships.

“I’d love for the business community to open up to internships and gig work,” Roche said. “We are setting you up for success.”

To enroll at CUA Tucson, visit cua-tucson@cua.edu or call (520) 409-6413. The deadline is in August.

Tucson-area businesses who have employees interested in attending school while working are invited to contact Catholic University of America Tucson. There are opportunities for employees to start college or continue their studies. Call (520) 409-6413 or visit cua-tucson@cua.edu.

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