When it comes to higher education in Phoenix, you can pretty much count your options on one hand. Students who seek a Bachelor’s degree or higher without leaving the Phoenix metro area must consider applying to the State University or one of a handful of for-profit trade schools. But what if there were another option? There is, and it’s called Grand Canyon University.
Grand Canyon University is both a traditional four-year college as well as a full-time online college with over 25,000 students. Ground students can enjoy a true college experience complete with on-campus living.
Unlike ASU, Grand Canyon is a private college, which means that the school does not depend on the State of Arizona as its primary source of funding.
GCU also offers students a full range of college level athletics, which is something you won’t find at trade schools such as the Art Institute, Collins College, DeVry University, or the University of Phoenix.
Grand Canyon College was founded in 1949 by Southern Baptists as a non-profit private college. The school ran quietly until 2004, when financial troubles nearly forced GCU into bankruptcy. Fortunately, the school was saved by a private investment group, who transformed it into the first for-profit Christian college in the United States.
The new Grand Canyon University launched its IPO on the NASDAQ in 2008 under the symbol LOPE, a reference to the school’s mascot “Thunder the Antelope.”
In spite of the troubled economy, Grand Canyon University has been growing steadily since 2008 and shows no signs of slowing down. The school spent $150 million dollars to build an Olympic-sized pool with hot tubs, a café, and a red-brick promenade in 2006.
Another round of expansion began in 2009 and is still underway. The school has allotted $60 million dollars for the construction of a new 5,000 seat events center, a 55,000 square-foot sports and recreation facility, and new classrooms and dormitories.
The dorms and recreation facility were completed in mid-2010, and the event center and classrooms are expected to be finished in early 2011. The recreation facility features three new multipurpose courts for both basketball or volleyball, as well as a gymnasium and weight room for students.
But the changes to GCU are more than just cosmetic. The University has also expanded its academic offerings with a new College of Fine Arts and Production, which offers degree programs in Dance Education, Digital Film, Theater and Drama, and Music Education.
Additionally, Grand Canyon offers Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral degrees through the College of Nursing, Health Sciences, Education, Liberal Arts, Doctoral Studies, and the Ken Blanchard College of Business.
If you’re thinking about higher education in Phoenix, I would encourage you to take a moment to consider Grand Canyon University. It might just be the answer you are looking for!