Grand Canyon University Keeps Growing In Phoenix

Published: Thursday, November 5, 2020 - 3:48pm
Updated: Friday, November 6, 2020 - 4:35pm
Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.

Grand Canyon University is expanding its footprint in west Phoenix. The private, Christian university plans to add three apartment-style dorms on its campus at 33rd Avenue and Camelback Road. The university operates as a nonprofit but is affiliated with a for-profit company, Grand Canyon Education, and is considered a for-profit entity by the U.S. Department of Education. It currently houses about 15,000 students in 24 residence halls and apartments.   

To accommodate GCU’s growth, the City Council unanimously approved planning amendments on Wednesday. The changes will also help GCU establish a landmark presence at the northwest corner of Interstate 17 and Camelback. 

Some residents have complained the university is contributing to the city’s housing shortage because it continues to buy surrounding properties, including longtime apartment complexes. 

During Wednesday’s meeting, a woman who lives nearby told council members, “GCU has continued to absorb neighboring land and increase its wall height. Within its walls, their students enjoy amenities such as hotels, restaurants, sports facilities, swimming pools, golf courses and a vast number of dorms while our students, our children, our grandchildren have endured years of crime-ridden parks, potholed streets without street lights, overcrowded city buses and dark bus stops.”

Councilman Sal Diciccio said GCU has been an incredible partner to the city: “They’ve just been an amazing entity and educational facility. If you go there, you  see these students from all over our city, all over our state. We’re very lucky to have them here.”

In September 2020, the university released these highlights:

  • Campus Enrollment: 23,000 
  • 2020 Incoming Class: More than 8,200 new students
  • 2020 Average Incoming GPA: 3.5 for fully admissible students
  • Tuition Freeze: 12 straight years on ground campus, with only nominal increases in online tuition during that time
  • Online Enrollment: More than 85,000

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to clarify that Grand Canyon University operates as a nonprofit but is considered a for-profit university by the U.S. Department of Education.

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