Grand Canyon University is the largest Christian university in the entire world. Although its campus is located in Phoenix, Arizona, many students from across the United States take its classes online. The university, which was started by the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention in 1949, now accepts students from a number of Christian denominations regardless of their beliefs.
Grand Canyon University enrollment now tops more than 90,000 students. About 65 percent of those students take classes either fully or partially online. The Grand Canyon University academic calendar includes classes that take place throughout the year in the fall, spring and summer semesters.
Even though Grand Canyon University used to be a for-profit college, it has now gained nonprofit status, and it is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Grand Canyon University Accreditation
Grand Canyon University’s accreditation is maintained by the Higher Learning Commission, which oversees the regional accreditation of colleges and universities in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Wyoming and West Virginia. When evaluating universities for accreditation, the Higher Learning Commission bases its decisions on several areas. It asks: What is the school’s mission? What kind of ethics does the school uphold? What kind of resources for teaching and learning are available at the school? What standards for teaching are kept by the school? How are organization and planning carried out at the institutional level? These are the criteria that are the basis for Grand Canyon University’s accreditation.
Grand Canyon University is accredited by other bodies, including Arizona State Board of Education and subject-matter accreditation bodies such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education.
What Does It Mean to Be Accredited?
When a college is accredited, it means that the college has met the standards of approval that have been set forth by a private agency. The point of accreditation is to make sure that all colleges abide by the same standards, giving all students the opportunity for equitable education regardless of the institution they choose to pursue for their higher education.
Not all colleges are accredited, so you have to be careful in choosing where to go to school. If the college you choose is not accredited, you may end up paying for credits that will not transfer. It is also unlikely that you will be able to get scholarships for federal funding to attend an institution that is not accredited. When you’re searching for colleges, look for colleges with a nonprofit status that have a significant history of producing students who find employment in their desired career after graduating. Employment statistics are one of the best measures to use when deciding whether or not a certain college is worth your money.
Grand Canyon University Is No Longer a For-Profit College
Even though Grand Canyon University used to be a for-profit college, it is now designated a nonprofit university. The decision to change this designation was reached by the Higher Learning Commission in 2018. For-profit colleges have a bad reputation for only caring about one thing: profit. So, the switch communicates that Grand Canyon University plans to care about student success more than money.
Grand Canyon University Enrollment
In 2018, Grand Canyon University enrollment numbers were larger than they have ever been before. For the 2018-2019 school year, Grand Canyon University enrolled more than 90,000 students, making it the largest Christian college in the U.S. Of that number, more than 20,000 are enrolled at the physical location, which is the university’s campus in Phoenix, Arizona. At the online campus, Grand Canyon University enrollment tops 70,000. Thousands of students graduate from the school every year in programs ranging from nursing and health care to business.
Graduation rates at the university have increased steadily over the years, as have the average GPAs for incoming students. In 2008, the average GPA for incoming traditional students was 2.7, but the most recent incoming class boasted an average of 3.5. Additionally, 92.9 percent of graduating students seeking professional licenses in nursing passed their licensure exam the first time they took it.
Academic Programs at Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University has a variety of degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. Students can take classes toward finishing these programs both online and on campus. Evening classes are also available.
Areas of study include business and management, criminal justice, social science, political science, engineering, technology, languages, communications, medicine, hard sciences, health care and nursing, performance, art, creative design, psychology, counseling, teaching, school administration, theology and ministry.
Many of those areas include several different specialty majors from which prospective students can choose. For example, a student wishing to pursue a career in science and medicine can earn a Bachelor of Science in athletic training, biochemistry, biology for secondary education, biology for pre-medical studies, biology for pre-pharmacy studies, biology for pre-physical therapy studies, biology for pre-physical assistantship, biomedical engineering, chemistry, chemistry for secondary education, exercise science, forensic science or nutritional science.
Students wishing to study science at Grand Canyon University can also earn a Master of Science in Biology with an emphasis in education or a Master of Science in Chemistry with an emphasis in education. Other majors and career paths offer a similarly wide variety of choices.
Tuition at Grand Canyon University
For both in-state and out-of-state students, tuition at Grand Canyon University costs $16,500 on average annually for a full course load. The price of an individual credit hour is $687.50. Students living on campus can expect to pay roughly $7,500 annually for room and board. On-campus students may also have to pay various fees amounting to around $1,630.
However, the majority of on-campus students at Grand Canyon University receive some kind of financial assistance in the form of school-based scholarships. The average on-campus student only ends up paying half of his tuition price in loans or out of pocket. University counselors are on hand to assist current and future students with any financial questions they may have.
Grand Canyon University also offers programs that reduce the cost of tuition for dual-enrolled students and students who are currently active service members in the U.S. military. Special scholarships are available for veterans and their spouses.
Grand Canyon University Academic Calendar
Grand Canyon University operates on the standard university academic schedule, with classes available in fall, spring and summer semesters. In 2018, the summer A term began on May 14 and ended on July 1. The summer B term started on July 2 and finished on August 19, and the fall term began on August 27 and ended on December 16. Thanksgiving break occurred between November 19 and November 25. For 2019, the spring term begins on January 7 and ends on April 28, with spring break scheduled for the week of March 18. Grand Canyon University offers short breaks between semesters for students who intend to take year-round classes.
The Grand Canyon University academic calendar will vary each year according to the changing dates of weekends and holidays.
Rebecca Renner is a teacher and college professor from Florida. She loves teaching about literature, and she writes about books for Book Riot, Real Simple, Electric Literature and more.