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Grand Canyon Education: Education And Business

May 26, 2014

Grand Canyon Education Inc. has turned a struggling nonprofit Christian institution into a vibrant university and is using capitalism (earning a profit) to make it all possible.

Grand Canyon Education owns Grand Canyon University (GCU). GCU was founded in 1949 as a nonprofit Christian educational institution.  The institution was created to allow local Arizona Southern Baptists the opportunity to obtain a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree without having to go to one of the Baptists colleges in Texas or Oklahoma.

What was Grand Canyon College relocated to its current location in Phoenix, Arizona. Crucial donations were made to turn the planned educational institution into reality. The necessary land was donated by the First Southern Baptist Church of Phoenix. Other personalities provide finance and physical labor. Grand Canyon College was renamed Grand Canyon University in 1989.

Unfortunately GCU experienced financial and other hardships in the early part of the 21st century. Left with few options in January 2004 the school’s board of trustees authorized its sale to California-based Significant Education LLC. It subsequently became the first for-profit Christian college in the U.S.

GCU received a major makeover in 2006 with a $150 million outlay including an aquatics center, with pool and tub, a brick promenade and a café providing a range of games and big-screen televisions.

More facilities were added including a 500-bed dormitory, a 55,000-square-foot fitness and recreation center, 125-class room facility, food court and bowling alley, and a 5,000 seat arena. The GCU Arena is now already undergoing major expansion beginning Spring of 2014 with the goal of expanding the facility to 7,000 seats.

GCU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, a regional accrediting body. It is also licensed by the Arizona State Private Post-Secondary Education. Aside from its ground campus GCU is also recognized as a top-five online school of entrepreneurs by Fortune Magazine.  The university concentrates on providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the fields of education, healthcare, business, and liberal arts.

Grand Canyon Education Inc., trades in the Nasdaq.

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