PHOENIX — Grand Canyon University’s plan to “survive then thrive” will include trying to reinvigorate its west Phoenix neighborhood and creating at least 1,500 jobs over the next four years.
“We have 3,500 employees …” university President Brian Mueller said at an employee meeting last week, “and we’ll have 5,000 by 2020. It’s a remarkable thing that we’ve been blessed with, and we’re just going to keep going.”
Earnings rose about 7 percent in the second quarter of 2016.
The private university at 33rd Avenue and Camelback Road has grown to 200 acres and is aiming for 400 acres. The school has already sunk over $800 million into infrastructure since 2008.
The growing has come with some pain: Earlier this year, the university sought property tax breaks but was turned down by the Arizona Legislature. The school also was turned down in its bid for nonprofit status.
The school switched to for-profit status in 2004 and began to reconsider that in October 2014. Tuition is about $17,000.
Enrollment soared to 67,424, which included part-time undergraduates, part-time grad students and online students.
Outside the campus, Mueller said hiring from within the neighborhood was important to him and the school’s mission.
“This is a community of immigrants. They come from Africa, they come from Central America and they come from Mexico,” Mueller said.
“You don’t see groups of people standing on street corners here. Everybody’s hustling. Everybody’s working. Everybody’s trying to survive.”
Grand Canyon University offers free tuition to the children of employees.
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