Grand Canyon University Review

By Henry R. Steele - April 18, 2017
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Grand Canyon University is a private college that was founded in 1949. This is primarily an online university, but it also has campus-based students as well. The university currently has tens of thousands of students online in both bachelor’s and master’s programs. It also features an online MBA with many concentrations available, which can be completed in approximately two years.

Favorite Features

Affordable tuition for bachelor’s and master’s degrees online

The affordability of college is more and more a concern today. Tuition costs continue to rise and more students are graduating with high levels of debt. At GCU, there are strong efforts to keep tuition costs under control and to limit the debt load of students. The tuition per credit hour for undergraduate and graduate school is very reasonable at only $470 and $560, respectively.

Flexible, quality online MBA program

Grand Canyon University online students who have busy professional and personal lives can earn their online MBA in as few as two years. GCU offers some of the most experienced leadership in the US in the delivery of online business programs.

The instructors at GCU are full time and are fully trained in business and also in delivering business content online. All instructors have strong backgrounds educationally and professionally in business and have extensive experience in the real world business sector.

Online dual degree offered – MBA and MS in leadership

For professionals who want to educate themselves both in business management principles and leadership, you can earn a dual degree at GCU online – an MBA and MS in Leadership. You will be able to blend the advanced principles of economics, finance, marketing and leadership into two degree programs that can be earned in approximately three years.

This unique, dual graduate degree program will give you a better grasp of business, administration and good leadership. Many professionals who graduate from this dual degree program go on to become senior executives, entrepreneurs, business directors, operations managers and other high level managerial roles in business.

Students with foreign education credentials may attend GCU

GCU makes a strong effort to academically prepare global citizens, and it invites qualified students who have completed their education outside the United States to attend the university. Students who have attended college, university or trade school outside the United States or in a US protectorate may be able to to qualify to attend GCU as a student with foreign credentials.

Foreign Credentials Services of America works with foreign students to determine if their educational experiences meets the standard to be enrolled in a GCU bachelor’s or master’s program.

Least Favorite Features

Business programs are not accredited by AACSB International

The AACSB is the most highly thought of business school accreditation agency in the world. Its accreditation process is highly rigorous; many universities find that the AACSB process is the most difficult they have experienced. The accreditation process can take in excess of two years.

Less than 5% of business schools in the world have achieved AACSB International accreditation. It truly is the gold standard for business school accreditation.

Grand Canyon University is not accredited by the AACSB, so some employers may be skeptical of the quality of the business degree that you earn.

AACSB accreditation is especially important for online programs, as many employers still are unsure of the quality of online programs generally.

Very low graduation rate

Just 18.2% of all students graduate on time, which is one of the lowest rates in the country. Generally a low graduation rate is a sign of lower academic quality of a university.

Highly rated universities, such as the University of North Carolina, for example, have a very high graduation rate for both campus based and online students.

A low on time graduation rate is made worse by a very low graduation rate within 150% of the expected time – only 27%. This suggests that the vast majority of students do not complete their degree program in four or six years.

Little information about GCU at US News and World Report

US News and World Report has little ranking information for GCU. The only specific ranking available was a very low high school counselor rank of 281 for the university. This implies that high school counselors have a low opinion of the university.

US News also states that GCU is in Tier 2 of its national university rankings, but it does not provide a specific ranking.

The Details

General Information

  • Founded in 1949
  • Application deadline: Rolling
  • Application fee: $50
  • School type: Private
  • Term Schedule: Semester
  • Location: Phoenix, Arizona
  • Student-faculty ratio: 17:1

Tuition Rates

  • Graduate: Online MBA – $560 per credit hour
  • Undergraduate: Online: $470 per credit hour

Business Degrees

Concentrations – MBA

Class Profile

  • 4% white; 6.1% Latino; 21.6% black or African American
  • 69,444 total enrollment
  • 2% acceptance rate
  • 73% female, 27% male

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • 62% of freshmen return for their second year, which is well below the national average of 70.9%
  • 2% of students graduate on time; this is among the worst in the US
  • 9% of students graduate within 150% of the expected time, which is well below average

US News Rankings

  • High school counselor rankings: 281
Henry R. Steele
Henry R. Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.Follow on

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