Grand Canyon University will begin the 2019-20 school year with a record of more than 22,000 students, three more apartment-style residence halls, a new Student Advising Services building, and another graduate-run business enterprise on its Phoenix campus when classes begin Aug. 26.

GCU, a private nonprofit Christian university, expects approximately 7,500 new students with an average incoming GPA of 3.5 for fully admitted students in its 2019 incoming class. Much of that growth has come in the area of engineering, which was launched in 2015 and already has nearly 900 students.

“To have that many students interested in our new engineering programs speaks not only to the quality of the programs and our instructors but also the way we approach the curriculum,” said GCU President Brian Mueller. “Like many of our academic programs, engineering is taught in a very hands-on, project-based environment with real-world applications. Our advisory board of engineering professionals has been very involved in the shaping of that curriculum to ensure that our students are graduating with the skills and experience that are sought in the industry.”

The four-year-old engineering program produced its first graduating class in Spring 2019 and within three months 87% of those graduates had jobs.

Other high-growth academic fields at GCU include cybersecurity, computer science, information technology, hospitality, business and the natural sciences.

As the 2019-20 academic year begins, the new Antelope, Sonora and Palo Verde apartment-style residence halls on the east side of campus have opened. They house an additional 1,800 students, bringing the total number of residence halls on campus to 22 and the total number of beds to approximately 13,000. GCU’s residence halls are rated No. 7 out of 1,370 schools in the country by based on student surveys, affordability and safety.

A new Student Advising Services building located on the Promenade is nearing completion and will be open near the end of the first semester.

And a new business enterprise, Canyon Pizza Co., will debut this fall in the Student Union under the supervision of GCU graduate Melanie Schissel. GCU has launched 10 business enterprises in the last three years, including the GCU Hotel, GCU Golf Course, Canyon 49 Grill, Lope House Restaurant, Grand Canyon Beverage Company (GCBC), Canyon Promotions and a Student Ad Agency.

“Our business enterprises serve four purposes,” Mueller said. “They provide employment opportunities to our graduates, students and neighborhood residents. They offer real-world, hands-on learning opportunities for students in academic programs such as Hospitality, Marketing and Business. Revenues from the enterprises help us continue to hold the line on the cost of tuition, which has been frozen on the Phoenix campus for 11 straight years. And they are part of our larger five-point plan to bring greater levels of prosperity to our neighborhood through job creation on and off our campus, reducing crime, increasing home values and supporting K-12 education.”

The business enterprises are an extension of GCU’s new 130,000-square-foot Innovation Center at 27th Avenue and Camelback Road. The Innovation Center’s mission is to facilitate economic growth through emerging technology, software and engineering-based enterprises in a collaborative incubation environment that encourages and fosters entrepreneurship.

The academic year kicks off with Welcome Week from Aug. 19-24, including GCU’s spirited Move-In process in which more than 2,300 volunteers help freshmen move into their residence halls. Move-In exemplifies the campus culture at the university.

“The spirit and camaraderie at Move-In is amazing and our students do it better than anyone,” Mueller said. “It sets the tone for the school year with an incredibly welcoming atmosphere, but what many people don’t realize is that same spirit exists year-round on our campus, whether it’s at Chapel services, academic events, athletics or other campus activities. It has really created a vibrant Christ-centered community atmosphere that has become a hallmark of our campus.”

At A Glance

Campus Enrollment: 22,000+ (up from less than 1,000 traditional-age students in 2008)

2019 Incoming Class: Approximately 7,500 new students

2019 Average Incoming GPA: 3.5 for fully admissible students

Honors College Average Incoming GPA: 4.1 (Honors College now has 2,300 students)

Tuition Freeze: 11 straight years on ground campus, with only nominal increases in online tuition during that time

Best College Campuses in America: No. 16 out of 1,408 in rankings

Best College Dorms in America: No. 7 out of 1,370 in rankings

Average Class Size: Less than 25 students

Academic Offerings: More than 230 degrees, emphases and certificates are offered in nine different colleges

Online Enrollment: More than 80,000