Grand Canyon University Accreditation

Grand Canyon University (GCU) has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1968. GCU is also authorized in Arizona by the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education. Accreditations speak to the quality of the university and its academic programs and can represent acknowledgment by peer institutions of meeting set criteria or standards.


Accreditation is a peer review of the rigor and quality of a higher education institution and the programs it offers. A university’s accreditation assists multiple constituents including:

Individuals need to attend an accredited institution in order to be eligible to receive federal (and in some cases state) loans or grants.


Employers may require evidence of education from an accredited institution in order to provide tuition assistance or to evaluate the credentials of prospective employees.

The federal government requires institutions to be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or accredited by an agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) in order to participate in federal financial aid programs.

Accreditation of a university or its programs may determine eligibility for graduates to apply for professional licensure in a state.


Council for Higher Education Accreditation

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is a private nonprofit organization that serves to recognize accrediting bodies to promote high standards of excellence within degree-granting universities. CHEA recognizes GCU’s institutional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, as upholding national ideals of academics within institutions. GCU is also an institutional member of CHEA.

Institutional Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accredits GCU as a postsecondary institution. This accreditation covers both GCU’s traditional courses as well as online, providing a foundation of trust for quality education in both modalities.

The HLC was established in 1895 as an accreditor of post-secondary degree granting institutions in the North Central region, totaling 19 states. The HLC and its predecessor have accredited GCU continually since 1968. In 2017, GCU's accreditation was reaffirmed by the HLC after a comprehensive review of the institution’s mission; integrity, ethical and responsible conduct; teaching and learning quality, resources, support, evaluation and improvement; and finances, planning and institutional effectiveness. The HLC is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

To be accredited by the HLC, GCU voluntarily submits to a peer review to ensure the University meets the Higher Learning Commission’s standards. The areas examined by the HLC peer reviews include:

  • University mission
  • University integrity
  • University and shared governance
  • Educational and co-curricular activities
  • Teaching and learning effectiveness
  • University assessment
  • Admissions and student services
  • Administration
  • Student academic achievement
  • Financial stewardship
  • Student resources
  • Organizational effectiveness
  • Relationships with outside constituencies

The Higher Learning Commission
230 S. LaSalle St., Suite 7-500
Chicago, IL 60604

Phone: 312-263-0456
Toll-free: 800-621-7440

Commitment to Continuous Improvement and Transparency

GCU is committed to student learning and continuous improvement. Student achievement data is included in the Disclosures links, located on the Program Details page, for each program leading to licensure and certification. Consumer information can be found here, and additional information on internal assessment practices and results is available upon request by sending an email to

Programmatic Accreditations

GCU student on campus

In addition to GCU’s HLC accreditation, GCU maintains programmatic accreditations for several of its programs. Programmatic accreditations indicate that a program has met a specific set of criteria or standards (professional counseling, nursing, business, etc.) as set forth by the specialized accrediting body.

Grand Canyon University Accreditation FAQs

We know you have questions and we want to ensure that you have the right answer. Read through some of our frequently asked questions about GCU’s university and programmatic accreditation to learn more.

Yes, GCU is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an independent accreditation institution founded in 1895. GCU has had its accreditation 4 reaffirmed every year by the HLC since 1968. As well, GCU holds specific accreditation, approvals and authorizations for many of its degrees and programs. To learn more about all of GCU’s accreditations, visit our University Accreditation page.

Yes, GCU is a fully accredited, good-standing member of the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP). GCU’s Initial Teacher Licensure Programs and Advanced Programs in Reading (Elementary and Secondary) and TESOL are fully accredited by AAQEP through June 30, 2026. Find the accredited teaching and school administration program that fits your degree-seeking journey.

The baccalaureate degree programs in nursing, the master’s degree programs in nursing, the Doctor of Nursing Practice programs and the post-graduate APRN certificate programs at Grand Canyon University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (

Yes, many programs within the Colangelo College of Business are fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). These accredited programs include bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in accounting, management, business administration, marketing and more. As well, GCU uses a field test conducted by Peregrine Academics to determine the overall business acumen of the students.

For the most current information, please view the course drop policy under the "Official Enrollment Status Change and Withdrawal” section of the University Policy Handbook. In all cases, students must contact their university counselor to process their requested course drop.

Grand Canyon University's online and evening programs offer the flexibility you need to get ahead, providing a quality education to help you thrive in today's complex world.