Get Matched With Online Colleges

Grand Canyon University (GCU) is a for-profit institution that focuses primarily on distance learning for its 64,000 undergraduate and 40,000 graduate students. This huge student body can choose from over 200 degree programs from nine colleges that include: business, theology, nursing & healthcare, STEM, and fine arts. Since GCU has such a strong online presence, many students pursue a hybrid approach to their bachelor's degree. They mix their online and traditional campus courses to create a flexible, though intellectually rigorous, schedule.

Overview of Grand Canyon University (GCU)

For students who attend class on the Phoenix, AZ campus, there is a lot more to do than cram one's head with enriching ideas and concepts. Students are encouraged to create a well-rounded educational experience by engaging with campus clubs and organizations, playing sports, earning leadership positions, or simply enjoying fellowship over a latte. GCU has a strong Christian focus, so students are encouraged to attend chapel or otherwise focus on spirituality. They also have a strong intramural sports program where students can engage friendly competition in flag football, 3x3 basketball, ultimate frisbee, or volleyball, among many other options. GCU also has an outdoor recreation program where students have an opportunity to get out into nature for fun and enriching experiences.

General Information

School Type Private for-profit
Campus Setting City: Large
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 21:1
Graduation Rate 41%
Year Founded 1949

Student Enrollment

Total Students96,211


Undergraduate Student

Male 17,109
Female 41,888

Graduate Student

Male 10,792
Female 26,422

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GCU Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 12,055
Female 22,985


Male 10,006
Female 18,848

Acceptance Rate77%

Male 83%
Female 82%

Enrollment 6,633

Male 2,300
Female 4,333
Application Fee NA
High School GPA Required
High School Rank Required
High School Transcripts NA
College Prep Courses NA
Recommendations NA
SAT/ACT Recommended
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline Rolling
Common Application Accepted No

GCU Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

Since GCU is a private, for-profit institution, it is not as inexpensive as a taxpayer-funded institution of higher learning. However, this means that GCU is able to maintain its religious affiliation and generate revenues that are reinvested into the student experience. Thus, a year of academic costs, inclusive of tuition, books, and fees comes to around $18,000. On top of that, living costs for a year at GCU are estimated to be $13,000 whether a student lives on or off campus. However, online students may find cheaper accommodation since they can live virtually anywhere that provides a Wi-Fi signal.

The total gross costs for a year at Grand Canyon University thus come to $32,000, but that's before the financial aid office applies its magic. After they apply all of the grants and scholarships they can find, the overall average net cost for a year at GCU falls to a mere $21,000. Students in the lowest income bracket then see an average net price tag of $18,000 and households whose earnings exceed $110,001 are still only less than $23,000. For an excellent private education, this is a terrific value.

Average net price 2018-2019
Net Price $21,332
Average Total Aid $9,933
Students Receiving Financial Aid 99%
Room & Board $7,800

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $17,800
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $17,800
  • Books and Supplies - $800
  • Room & Board - $7,800
  • Other - $5,700


Whether students are on campus, online, or pursuing their degree through a hybrid approach at Grand Canyon, academics are on their mind. Prior to enrolling, students and their families want to ensure that their educational dollar will be spent at an institution that offers strong academic programs, and Grand Canyon delivers. To evaluate GCU's academic strengths, researchers take a look at the hard data, including the retention rate and graduation rate, among others.

The retention rate reflects how many of GCU's first-time, full-time students return for a second year at the school. Given that GCU is often thought of as an online institution, their retention rate may astound many students. That figure is a whopping 74%, which is encouraging to students and their families. GCU also reports an overall graduation rate of 47%. On top of that, there were around 36% who left to enroll at a different institution. This indicates that their credits and academic foundation was deemed strong enough to be worthy of a degree from elsewhere. Thus, it can be said that GCU has prepared around 83% of its students for a college degree, whether on its campus or elsewhere.

Student Population Total

Student Population 96,211

Evening Classes : Yes
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

Health Professions and Related Programs 5,453 Total Graduates / 44%
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 4,638 Graduates
Hospital and Health Care Facilities Administration/Management 310 Graduates
Psychiatric/Mental Health Services Technician 223 Graduates
Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science and Allied Professions, Other 167 Graduates
All Business Majors 2,049 Total Graduates / 17%
Business Administration and Management, General 1,343 Graduates
Accounting 212 Graduates
Finance, General 162 Graduates
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 162 Graduates
Public Administration and Social Service Professions 1,414 Total Graduates / 11%
Human Services, General 771 Graduates
Community Organization and Advocacy 349 Graduates
Social Work 294 Graduates
All Education Majors 1,256 Total Graduates / 10%
Elementary Education and Teaching 674 Graduates
Special Education and Teaching, General 325 Graduates
Early Childhood Education and Teaching 145 Graduates
Secondary Education and Teaching 84 Graduates
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services 436 Total Graduates / 4%
Criminal Justice/Police Science 244 Graduates
Crisis/Emergency/Disaster Management 160 Graduates
Forensic Science and Technology 32 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 14%

Outcome & Salary

Every student and their families try to calculate their return on educational investment. After all, college is not cheap, so it's important to project how well the whole adventure might pay off. Grand Canyon collects information from its alumni to provide some data with which to evaluate the potential ROI. At GCU, the top-earning degree turns out to be nursing, and those graduates report median entry-level earnings of over $80,000. Of the top five degrees, the accounting students come in #5 with a median entry-level salary of $50,000 before bonuses or other compensation. On top of this, GCU students will always have their diploma, which is an asset that can always help them land a job or enroll in graduate school.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary N/A
College Grads Average Salary $62,782
College Grads Mid Career Salary N/A
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $627,820
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential N/A
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $85,328
10 Year Projected ROI $542,492
20 Year Projected ROI N/A
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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