Grand Canyon University announced today it is freezing tuition costs on its Phoenix campus for the 14th straight year, continuing the GCU commitment to make higher education affordable to all socioeconomic classes.
The private Christian university’s ground campus tuition in 2022-23 will remain at $16,500 before institutional scholarships are included. Because more than 90% of GCU students qualify for institutional scholarships that totaled $170 million in 2021, that brings the average tuition cost in 2021-22 to approximately $8,700, which is comparable to public universities and well below other private schools. That total does not include federal aid such as Pell grants and subsidized student loans or external scholarships that lower students’ out-of-pocket expenses further. In addition to tuition, GCU students pay an average of roughly $1,100 annually in fees, which is often much less than both public and private universities.
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According to data from the College Board’s “Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid Report,” since 2008-09 when GCU began its tuition freeze, the average cost for in-state tuition and fees at four-year public colleges has risen 63% to $10,740, while it has risen 51% to $38,070 at four-year private institutions.
“By ensuring that private Christian education is affordable, we have created an environment where there is equality of opportunity for everyone,” GCU President Brian Mueller said. “That has resulted in a high quality student body that is very diverse with 46% people of color, including 28% Hispanic and 6% African-American. We are also proud of the fact that nearly 40% of this year’s incoming class of 9,000 new students are first-generation college students. We have invested heavily in resources to support those students with the challenges they face in a college environment.”
GCU’s housing costs are also well below the national average despite the fact that its residence halls are rated the sixth best in the country according to niche.com. The average cost of room and board at a four-year public college rose to $11,950 in 2021-22 and to $13,620 at a four-year private institution, according to the College Board. GCU’s average room and board cost is just $8,628 even though nearly all of the modern residence halls have been built in the past 10 years and roughly 55% of the university’s beds are single-occupancy, apartment-style living.
With affordable tuition and room/board costs, graduates at GCU are incurring less debt (an average of $21,073 according to 2018 data from College Scorecard) than the reported national average at public and private nonprofit colleges ($28,950 according to 2019 data from the Institute for College Access and Success).
During the 14-year tuition freeze, GCU has invested $1.6 billion into new academic programs, technologies, classrooms, laboratories, research spaces, residence halls and other student amenities in order to keep up with the growth of the university. On-campus enrollment has grown from less than 1,000 traditional students in 2008 to 23,500 today, while the number of colleges has increased from 3 to 9 and the number of academic programs, emphases and certificates to nearly 300.
“We feel very blessed that we have been able to use our cash reserves to continue to build out the university without passing those costs on to students through increases in tuition,” Mueller said. “We plan to invest an additional $400 million over the next four years as we grow the ground campus to 40,000 students but are committed to keeping tuition affordable for our students and families.”