ARIZONA EDUCATION NEWS

Here’s why Grand Canyon University is expecting record enrollment this fall semester

Aug 28, 2023, 4:00 PM | Updated: Sep 20, 2023, 3:37 pm

(Facebook Photo/GCU Life)...

(Facebook Photo/GCU Life)

(Facebook Photo/GCU Life)

PHOENIX — Grand Canyon University is projecting a milestone this fall semester.

GCU said it expects another record-breaking class of new students for the 2023-24 year.

Although enrollment numbers are down nationwide, the institution is seeing a rise in numbers, GCU said in a press release.

The university is projecting a more than 14% increase in new students from 2022 which includes a class of more than 11,000 incoming students 21 and under attending on-campus and online.

“It’s another record enrollment. You might remember we started with 900 students on our campus, 14 years ago,” GCU President Brian Mueller said in an interview with KTAR News 92.3 FM “This is our 15th school year and we are up to almost 26,000, 25,800 students on our campus.”

The number increases the total projected enrolment to more than 118,000 with about 25,800 on campus and 92,000 online students, GCU said.

Incoming fully admissible students have an average GPA of 3.6.

Mueller noted in addition to the rising enrollment numbers, GCU is opening two new resident halls, three new restaurants and about 100,000 square feet of new classroom space.

What is causing the growth?

Tuition is a factor in why GCU has seen the rise in enrollment, according to Mueller. Annual tuition has been $16,500 since 2009.

“We haven’t raised tuition in 15 years, after academic scholarships, the students pay about what they would pay the state university. In many cases, it’s less,” he said.

“Our students are taking on less debt than the average state university student and far less debt than the average private university student and over 40% of our students are graduating in three years, so it starts there.”

Mueller also credited the strength of its academic program and the university’s growth from three to nine colleges.

“Now we have over 300 academic programs certificates and emphasis that we offer, it’s very broad-based,” he said. “A lot of those programs have been created in the last five or six years and they’re in high growth areas. And so what we’re doing academically, is a big part of the story. We have 20 advisory boards in over 500 companies on those advisory boards.”

The president also noted the growth of Phoenix and the majority of students choosing to stay in the city and get jobs.

A big part of the story is what GCU is as a Christian university’s faith foundation, Mueller said.

“All Christian universities are private universities and we have a lot of good ones but it’s private universities. They’re fairly expensive and the opportunity to come to a private Christian university in pay. Basically, you would pay at a state university, is very attractive to people around the country,” he said.

He also added the campus community is a big factor in growth.

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Here’s why Grand Canyon University is expecting record enrollment this fall semester