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The new dorms at Grand Canyon University. (Photo: Jim Cross/KTAR)

PHOENIX -- While many for-profit colleges are seeing fewer students, one Valley university is seeing explosive growth.

Grand Canyon University will have 44,400 students in the fall, up 39,500 from last year. The majority is online, with about 7,000 students on the campus near 35th Avenue and Camelback Road.

University President Brian Mueller said there are numerous issues with the education system that drive students to GCU.

"The average students pays about $7,800 in tuition each year," he said. "At private universities, that number can run $30,000 to $50,000 in tuition. Another draw is lower class sizes and no lecture hall with 500 to 600 students."

Mueller expects to have 15,000 students at the GCU campus within three years.

The university has been undergoing a major makeover, complete with a state-of-the-art basketball arena, new dorms and a parking garage.

Jim Cross, Reporter

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