Is Grand Canyon University a Good School?

There are a total of 17 colleges and universities in Phoenix, Arizona. One of them is Grand Canyon University. But no matter where you are on the planet, you can attend it as it offers a wide variety of online programs.

Grand Canyon University is a good school whose programs, traditional and online alike, are accredited by a recognized agency. The institution is best suited for non-traditional students. As a matter of fact, a whopping 78% of its total student population (96,211) are taking online classes exclusively.

Just because Grand Canyon University offers online degrees doesn’t mean you should have suspicions.

Since it’s a regionally accredited institution, you can rest assured that it’s not one of the hundreds of diploma mills operating in cyberspace.

Below, you will come across some of the things that make Grand Canyon University a good school as well as a few other important matters, from the cost of attending it to how much money you could make after graduation.

So, if you are planning to earn a college degree online from Grand Canyon University, don’t stop reading now!

Grand Canyon University

What is Grand Canyon University Known For?

Grand Canyon University is known for being the largest Christian university in the US and the planet, based on the number of students — nearly 100,000 students attend it. The school is also known for offering both traditional and online degrees. The majority of its students are non-traditional.

Besides having a large student body, Grand Canyon University is known for offering numerous degree programs, both traditional and online too. For instance, it offers over 200 bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctoral degree programs. The school also has more than 150 online degrees.

Some of the most popular fields of study at Grand Canyon University include:

  • Health professions
  • Business, management and marketing
  • Education
  • Public administration and social services
  • Biological and biomedical sciences
  • English language and literature
  • Homeland security and law enforcement
  • Theology

Grand Canyon University is also fairly easy to get into, with an acceptance rate of 77%. According to US News, the average acceptance rate at most US colleges and universities is 68%.

However, it doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed to receive an acceptance letter from the school when you apply to it. There are minimum requirements to meet for a student to gain admission into it. To check your chances of getting accepted into Grand Canyon University, you can calculate your college chances.

Related Article: University of Arizona vs. Arizona State University

What is the Ranking of Grand Canyon University?

Grand Canyon University appears in the rankings of some of the most popular college ranking sites. For example, it is #299 in National Universities by US News. Grand Canyon University is #60 in Best Colleges for Nursing in America by Niche and #190 Best Registered Nursing Schools by College Factual.

There are various things college-bound high schoolers consider when creating a college list. Checking out college rankings is something many do to have an idea of whether or not an institution should be shortlisted.

You will be happy to know that Grand Canyon University is ranked by many college ranking sites, the majority of which are the go-to rankers by many college applicants. So, if you are thinking about applying to Grand Canyon University and wondering how it fares in the world of college ranking, check out the following:

US News rankings:

  • #78 in Top Performers on Social Mobility
  • #166 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs
  • #299 in National Universities
  • #645 in Nursing

Niche rankings:

  • #1 in Best College Campuses in Arizona
  • #18 in Best College Campuses in America
  • #60 in Best Colleges for Nursing in America
  • #78 in Best Colleges for Education in America
  • #125 in Most Diverse Colleges in America
  • #275 in Best Colleges for Business in America

College Factual rankings:

  • #1 in Best Psychiatric/Mental Health
  • #1 in Most Popular Nursing
  • #3 in Best Nursing Schools in Arizona
  • #190 in Best Registered Nursing Schools
  • #259 in Best Nursing Schools

Related Article: Do Employers Care About College Rankings?

Is Grand Canyon University an Accredited School?

Grand Canyon University is an accredited school. The accrediting agency responsible for its accreditation is the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The accreditor of Grand Canyon University is recognized by the US Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

The good news is that Grand Canyon University is accredited by HLC. What’s really nice about HLC is that it’s a regional accrediting agency. This means that Grand Canyon University is regionally accredited.

Various perks come with attending a regionally accredited institution, such as:

  • Access to education that meets or surpasses specific standards.
  • Easy transfer of credits from one regionally accredited college to the next.
  • Increased chances of getting accepted into a graduate school.
  • Eligibility for more competitive financial aid programs.
  • A college degree that potential employers and associates respect.

Since 1968, Grand Canyon University has been accredited non-stop by HLC and its predecessors. HLC reaffirmed the accreditation of Grand Canyon University in 2017 after conducting a comprehensive institutional review.

Is Grand Canyon University Online Accredited?

Grand Canyon University Online is accredited by HLC, too. The recognized regional accrediting agency accredits not only traditional US institutions but also online schools. In the process, both the on-campus degrees and online programs offered by Grand Canyon University Online are accredited.

Many students and their parents are wary of schools operating on the internet and offering online degrees. That’s because some of them are acting as though they are legitimate institutions even when they’re not.

It’s a good thing that Grand Canyon University Online is an accredited online school by HLC, a USDE- and CHEA-recognized accrediting agency. Needless to say, the online degree you will earn from it will be respected by employers. It is also very much likely to be accepted by a graduate school, should you decide to earn a postgraduate degree.

Some of the programs of Grand Canyon University have programmatic accreditations, too, such as:

  • Business: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  • Education: Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP)
  • Nursing: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Science, Engineering and Technology: Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)

Is Grand Canyon University a Diploma Mill?

Grand Canyon University is far from being a diploma mill. It’s because of the fact that the school is accredited by an accrediting agency that is recognized by both USDE and CHEA. So, in other words, the description of Grand Canyon University does not fit the typical description of a diploma mill.

There are tons of terrible products available on the internet. Similarly, there are many horrible sites on the internet posing as reliable colleges and universities when, in fact, the programs and degrees they offer are worthless.

It’s because of the existence of diploma mills why many stay away from online schools.

Due to the fact that Grand Canyon University is regionally accredited and its various online programs have programmatic accreditations, too, it is a legitimate online school and not a diploma mill. Needless to say, the college degree you will earn from it via the internet will be respected by employers. It can help you get the job of your dreams, too.

However, keep in mind that online learning is not for every type of college student.

For instance, some US News user reviews complained that they had to learn the course materials on their own. Well, that’s basically how online learning works.

And it’s exactly for this reason why some students drop out of it, while others find it beneficial for them, especially non-traditional students who can study on their own and at their chosen pace.

Related Article: Signs of College Diploma Mills

How Much Does It Cost to Attend Grand Canyon University?

The estimated cost of attending Grand Canyon University for one academic year amounts to $32,100. So, in other words, earning a four-year degree from the school costs around $128,400. Because Grand Canyon University is a private institution, there are no in-state and out-of-state tuition costs.

According to a Twitter poll run by USA Today, 45% of participating students said that cost is the number one factor when it comes to choosing which colleges to go to.

The average cost of attending a traditional higher education institution in the US is $53,949 per academic year.

Based on that figure, the cost of going to Grand Canyon University is below average, which makes the school accessible to more students who are on a tight budget. To help make earning a degree more affordable, 98% of freshmen students receive scholarships, each awardee getting an average of $7,951.

Here’s a breakdown of the cost of attending Grand Canyon University full-time for one year:

Personal expenses$5,700
GCU Cost of Attendance

To get an estimated cost of attending Grand Canyon University for one academic year living off-campus, all you have to do is subtract $7,800 (the sum of room and board) to the total.

How Much Does Grand Canyon University Online Cost?

Compared to a traditional degree, a degree from Grand Canyon University Online is cheaper. One academic year of being a full-time online student at the school costs $26,854 on average. An online certificate program from Grand Canyon University is even cheaper, costing approximately $14,750 a year.

Besides on-campus programs, Grand Canyon University also offers programs that can be completed via the web.

An online degree from the school is cheaper than a traditional counterpart. That’s because, aside from the elimination of certain expenses such as the room and board, the tuition cost for an online student per semester is lower, too.

Let’s check out the breakdown of the cost of attending Grand Canyon University Online for a year:

Electronic resources$630
Personal expenses$6,410
GCU Online Cost of Attendance

According to 2020 data, the cost of online college per academic year ranges from $9,600 to $15,150. This means that the estimated cost of being an online student at Grand Canyon University is higher than average.

What Kind of Students Attend Grand Canyon University?

Grand Canyon University hockey

With up to 78% of enrolled students taking online classes exclusively, it’s safe to assume that the vast majority of the population of Grand Canyon University are non-traditional students. It’s not uncommon for online colleges to attract students who find it hard to complete traditional degrees.

Unlike many online schools, Grand Canyon University has both on-campus classes and online classes.

It’s for this reason why it offers hybrid classes, which means that students can choose to complete some of their coursework via the internet and then work on others by attending face-to-face classes. Besides hybrid classes, Grand Canyon University also offers purely online classes, which are ideal for very busy non-traditional students.

The total number of students attending Grand Canyon University amounts to 96,211. Of those, 75,277 (78%) attend online classes exclusively.

On the other hand, 9,791 (13%) attend some classes through the internet, which means that they are attending hybrid classes. This means that 91% of Grand Canyon University’s students are non-traditional.

Here’s a breakdown of the population of Grand Canyon University according to the type of classes attended:

Exclusive online78%
Online and traditional13%
GCU Online vs. In-Person

How Much Do Grand Canyon University Graduates Make?

Six years after enrolling at Grand Canyon University, employed graduates earn an average of $38,400 every year. On the other hand, they earn an average of $54,300 after 10 years. The starting salaries and average incomes per year of graduates depend on various factors such as the degree and major.

One of the main reasons for earning a college degree is to increase one’s earning potential.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) says that the average annual salary of college graduates is about $50,000.

That’s higher than the average yearly earnings of Grand Canyon University graduates six after attending the school as freshmen students. After 10 years, however, they tend to earn slightly more than average.

Refrain from assuming that you will not make a lot if you earn your degree from Grand Canyon University. That’s because the amount of money you will generate a year will depend on your degree and major, too.

For instance, the highest-paid graduates of the school are those who earned bachelor’s degrees in Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing — they make an average starting salary of $75,400 a year. Holders of bachelor’s degrees in Homeland Security earn an average starting salary of $59,600 per year.

Check out how much some Grand Canyon University graduates make per year (starting salary) according to the degrees (bachelor’s only) they have completed and/or the majors they have chosen:

Registered Nursing$75,400
Nursing Administration$75,400
Nursing Research$75,400
Clinical Nursing$75,400
Homeland Security$59,600
Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science$57,300
Research and Allied Professions$57,300
Finance and Financial Management Services$48,500
Business Administration$42,000
Business Management$42,000
Allied Health$34,200
Special Education and Teaching$33,000
Social Work $32,900
Religious Education$32,800
Mental and Social Health Services$31,800
Human Services$30,800
Health and Physical Education$28,800
Visual and Performing Arts$25,900

Is Grand Canyon University a Mormon School?

Grand Canyon University is not a Mormon School. Instead, it is a Christian school with a biblically rooted mission — it has been that way since 1949, its founding year. However, Grand Canyon University is interdenominational, which means that it accepts students from various religious affiliations.

Since Grand Canyon University is a Christian school, it doesn’t come as a surprise why it upholds Christian values.

It’s also because of its commitment to educate students from a Christian perspective rooted in an evangelical heritage why the College of Theology exists. According to the school, the College of Theology was established in order to:

  • Educate students to communicate the gospel effectively.
  • Serve the church faithfully.
  • Minister with integrity at home and abroad.

The following are the various theology degrees Grand Canyon University’s College of Theology offers:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry
  • Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies (with various emphasis)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Worship Arts
  • Graduate Certificate of Completion in Biblical Foundations
  • Graduate Certificate of Completion in Christian Theology
  • Graduate Certificate of Completion in Ministry Education
  • Master of Arts in Christian Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Christian Ministry
  • Master of Arts in Urban Ministry
  • Master of Arts in Youth and Family Ministry
  • Master of Divinity
  • Postmaster of Arts in Theology: Introductory Biblical Languages Certificate

Some of these theology degrees are available online, while others are traditional programs only.

Just Before You Apply to Grand Canyon University

Above, we talked about the things that make Grand Canyon University a good school.

It’s popular for offering online degrees, despite the fact that it has traditional degrees, too, which is why the majority of its students are non-traditional ones, such as those who already have jobs or families to take care of. Grand Canyon University offers more than 150 online degrees. It has both hybrid and purely online classes.

While there are many pros associated with attending this private Catholic school in Phoenix, Arizona, there are also a few cons that come with going to it. Make sure that you carefully weigh all of them before sending an application to Grand Canyon University and earning your college degree from it.


In October 2021, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent notices to 70 for-profit schools seeking civil penalties. While the notice claims that this is “NOT an indication that it has done anything wrong”, the FTC’s goal is to prevent using illegal or deceptive tactics that leave students with high debt and poor career outcomes.

Grand Canyon University was on the list.

There are also the University of Phoenix, Strayer, Capella, and Devry.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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