Northern Arizona University has been awarded University Center status by the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The announcement was made in Oregon last week during a conference hosted by EDA.

The university will receive $535,000 over the next five years to support the mission of the Arizona Rural Policy Initiative, according to Wayne Fox, assistant dean of the College of Business Administration and the director of NAU’s Center for Business Outreach. NAU was the only university to be added to the Western Region University Center program out of more than 40 applicants.

“University Center status is a milestone in meeting our very distinct mission of service to rural Arizona,” Fox said. “We have the resources and commitment to improve the quality of life for our state’s rural population.”

The mission of newly formed Northern Arizona University Center will be to provide a broad array of policy analysis and foster economic development support for rural Arizona.