Grand Canyon University Accreditation

Grand Canyon University 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 regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, as upholding national ideals of academics within institutions. GCU is also an institutional member of CHEA.

Regional 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 Higher Learning Commission 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, Grand Canyon University’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

      Grand Canyon University 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

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      In addition to GCU’s Higher Learning Commission 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, Grand Canyon University 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, 19 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.

      Students are allowed to drop a course depending on the course length. If a course is 1-2 weeks long, a student is not permitted to drop the course after the start date. If a course is 3-13 weeks long, a student can drop the course prior to last two weeks. If a course is 14-16 weeks in length, a student may drop the course prior to the last four weeks. Please note that students are subject to the Course Tuition Refund Policy and any financial charges depending on the timing of the withdrawal. In all cases, students must contact their Student Services Counselor to process their requested course drop. Find more information, including our University Policy Handbook at our Academic Catalog and Policies page.

      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.

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