Breakfast Honors Aspire Scholars

March 2022, Payson Roundup. Recently forty-seven Aspire Scholars were honored at a breakfast for students and donors at The Rim Club. These students had all received an A or B in their dual-credit college courses taken through the Eastern Arizona College – Payson campus. Since its inception in 2017, the Aspire Arizona Foundation has provided 458 scholarships to Rim Country students.

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Aspire Foundation and Navit Programs

January 2022, Facebook.  With the help of the MHA Foundation, Payson Unified School District has proactively implemented AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) and Capturing Kids Hearts programs. These proven programs aim to help build student value and connect every student to a post‐graduate plan.

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Holbrook Pyle Foundation Donates to Aspire Arizona Foundation

December 2020, Payson Roundup. The Holbrook Pyle Foundation has donated $15,000 to the Aspire Arizona Foundation to provide Spring tuition support for Payson High School students taking Eastern Arizona College – Payson courses at the high school.

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Aspire Arizona Success Story – Alyssa Boerst

October 2020, Payson Roundup.  Alyssa Boerst is one of the ambitious students who have accomplished the incredible feat of completing both her high school requirements and enough college coursework to qualify for her associate degree by the time she finishes high school.

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Paul Brocker Takes the Reins at Aspire Arizona

September 2020, Payson Roundup.  Paul Brocker has taken over as Aspire Arizona Foundation’s president with lots of plans on how to increase scholarships for local students.

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Aspire Arizona Foundation Offers Students Many Benefits

August 2020, Payson Roundup. KRIM’s Community Spotlight program featured DJ Randy Roberson discussing the Aspire Arizona Foundation’s dual-credit program with Payson High School Principal Jeff Simon, 2020 Payson High School valedictorian and Aspire Arizona Foundation dual-credit student Michael Cline, and AAF President Paul Brocker.

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Aspire Celebrates College Success of High School Students

February 2020, Payson Roundup.  Stephanie Felix hasn’t graduated high school, but she’s already got a year of college under her belt — thanks to the groundbreaking partnership between the Aspire Arizona Foundation, the MHA Foundation, Payson High School and Eastern Arizona College-Payson.

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Payson Valedictorian Receives Engineering Scholarships

February 2020, Payson Roundup.  Payson High School valedictorian – Michael Cline graduated with his first year of college already completed thanks to an innovative Dual Credit program that pays the tuition for college courses at the Payson High School.  Michael has been accepted to six universities for engineering, all with scholarships.

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Dual-enrollment Program Making a Difference

February 2020, Payson Roundup.  “I won’t have to pay for most of this diploma in anything but effort, and as long as I maintain a good grade in these classes, they will continue to pay for three of my courses for each semester…”

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Past Aspire Arizona Foundation Scholar Lauds Program

January 2020, Payson Roundup.  “I had a really great experience, actually much better than regular high school courses. When people are in the right mindset and they want to achieve something, it makes it easier to get ahead and to really get engaged with the professor or teacher.”

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Students ‘Aspire’ to Higher Education With Dual-credit Classes

December 2019, Payson Roundup. The Dual Credit Program helps valedictorian Kajal Daya get a head start on college education as well as preparing her for what to expect when transferring to a university.

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Aspire Foundation Expands Dual-Credit Scholarships

November 2018, Payson Roundup. With a matching grant from the MHA Foundation, the Aspire Arizona Foundation board voted to expand its scholarship funding to pay for up to three dual-credit academic courses per semester per student.

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Two speeches – Two Degrees for PHS Salutatorian Randall Adcock

May 2018, Payson Roundup – Thanks to Dual-Credit program Payson High School Salutatorian – Randall Adcock graduates from Gila Community College with an associates degree before he graduated from high school.

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Cristine Le beams after winning the Best Hat award at the Black and White Ball, which raised $6,000 for dual-credit scholarships offered by the Aspire Arizona Foundation to local students.

Aspire Foundation to Continue Funding Dual Credit Classes

March 2018, Payson Roundup – With almost $30,000 in its pocket from fundraising, the Aspire Arizona Foundation board voted to continue to offer free dual-credit classes to high school students during the 2018-19 school year.

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Aspire Students Honored for Their Achievements

January 2018, Payson Roundup – More than 50 students were honored at the Second Annual Aspire Arizona Foundation breakfast.  These students received an A in one or more of their dual-credit classes.

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Aspire Upping Its Game

October 2017, Payson Roundup – Students taking more dual credit classes with number of “seats” up 18.5 percent in part due to merit scholarships provided by Aspire Arizona.

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Aspire Celebrating a Successful Partnership

January 2017, Payson Roundup – More than 50 students poured into The Rim Club dining room to celebrate a successful first semester of dual credit classes between Payson High School and Gila Community College funded by Aspire Arizona Foundation.

The 50 students had received an A in their college level class.

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Payson university plans

College Progresses, But Still No Partner

November 2016, Payson Roundup – Architects and planners for a proposed four-year college campus in Payson met with town officials Wednesday to go over preliminary phase I plans.

Project leaders hope to have an academic building and two dorms built by the fall of 2018 for the first wave of students and classes. Read More >

expect more arizona logo

Creating Higher Education Pathways for Students in the Payson Area

Expect More Arizona – The Aspire Arizona Foundation (AAF) was established in 2013 by engaged residents in the Payson area who were dedicated to bringing a four-year university presence to the region. Knowing the vital importance of continuing education beyond high school, AFF has been working tirelessly since then to make this priority a reality. Read More >


9/20/2016 Aspire Arizona Covered Tuition For 100 Payson Students

Payson Roundup – So far, 100 Payson High School students have received free or nearly free college classes — thanks to an innovative partnership involving Payson Unified School District, Gila Community College and the Aspire Arizona Foundation.

Last week, the district gave the board of the private Aspire Arizona its latest “Heroes of Education” award.

Aspire Arizona has so far provided about $50,000 in scholarships to Payson students to cover the tuition for 200 classes. Read more >

Students studying

3/22/2016 College Courses for High School Students

Payson Roundup – Ever wanted your high school student to take a community college course, but couldn’t afford the tuition?

Has your student gone as far as he or she can with the offerings at the high school, but still wants more?

Don’t have time to take a college class at night?

A new organization will help.  Read more >

3/15/2016 Weak Schools = Weak Economy

Payson Roundup – Years of state cutbacks have weakened the educational system on which Arizona’s prosperity depends, according to Evelyn Casuga, with the Center for the Future of Arizona.

Casuga made her dramatic presentation before a meeting of Aspire Arizona Foundation, set up to bolster the educational system in Rim Country and reduce the cost to students of attending a hoped-for university in Payson. Read more >

People having coffee

12/18/2015 Help for HS Students

Payson Roundup – The recently established Aspire Arizona Foundation has launched its first effort in support of a university campus in Payson — a partnership with Payson High School and Gila Community College to offer dual-credit college courses.

The long-discussed but unformed Aspire Foundation was established to collect donations to reduce the cost of attending the proposed, four-year college campus in Rim Country. Read more >

Sale complete

10/27/2015 At Long Last

Payson Roundup – The sale’s complete. The sale’s complete.

That means you need no longer ask “if” backers will build a university campus in Payson. Now it’s a question of “when.”

No doubt about it: Hard work remains. But also you need no longer doubt whether we’ll have a university here in Payson. Read more >

Payson University Sign

10/6/2015 University Backers Unveil Site Sign

Payson Roundup – University advocates on Saturday with much fanfare unveiled a custom-designed, carved sign to mark the site of a future campus in Payson.

Payson Mayor Kenny Evans at the unveiling of the $3,000 sign designed by a local artist and carved by a Pine sign shop said, “What makes all this possible is the good people of Payson.” Read more >

6/30/2015 Banner/MHA complete Merger

Payson Roundup – The Mogollon Health Alliance and Banner Health on Friday completed their merger, with enormous implications for health care in Rim Country, the Payson university project and educational and health care charitable initiatives.

Banner paid the newly created MHA Foundation $40 million. The longtime Mogollon Health Alliance will now change its name to the MHA Foundation. Banner will assume control of Payson Regional Medical Center on Aug. 1, renaming it Banner Payson Medical Center. Read more >