What Makes GCU Different?

Thunder walking with a group of GCU students on campus

Grand Canyon University’s mission is to prepare learners to become global citizens, critical thinkers, effective communicators and responsible leaders. As part of our vision for the university, we strive to offer students high-quality academic programs, affordable tuition and a Christian community. These three core values are a major part of what makes GCU different:

Academic Excellence

With nine distinct colleges, including its prestigious Honors College, Grand Canyon University has been committed to academic excellence since its beginning. The university has continually earned regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and its predecessor since 1968. Many of the programs throughout our colleges have also received additional accreditations from accrediting bodies such as  Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and more. For more information on the accreditation of nursing programs and other university licensures, please visit our University Accreditation and Regulations page.

The university currently offers more than 200 academic programs, with new programs in high-demand fields such as engineering, cybersecurity and more, being added frequently. Since 2012, GCU has expanded its campus by adding new classroom buildings and facilities, including two brand new STEM buildings to accommodate for the growth of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology.


In addition to providing recognized and prestigious academics, GCU is committed to offering an affordable education, especially as a private university. The university has kept campus tuition frozen at $16,500 since 2009, and abides by a philosophy that offers students lower costs and less debt. GCU provides students with generous academic scholarships that may be renewed all four years, even though many students graduate in less time! GCU also supports students by giving them the opportunity to increase their scholarship from the previous year through academic excellence and achievements while in college.

Student service counselors are accessible to guide students through available FAFSA and student loan options. After scholarships and financial aid, GCU students may pay significantly less than competing universities.

Christian Community

GCU was founded on Christian principles that can still be seen daily through the communities on campus. Every Monday, students fill GCU Arena for optional Chapel services that include student-led worship, messages from local pastors and prayer. GCU also hosts a completely student-run service on Tuesday nights known as The Gathering, where students can experience community and fellowship.

In addition to these group assemblies, GCU’s Spiritual Life Department works to get everyone connected by mentoring student leaders who hold weekly Bible studies, called Life Groups and Community Groups, on each floor in every living area. Spiritual Life is also home to Local Outreach and Global Outreach teams, which encourage students to go out and see the world while spreading the truth of the gospel! Through these outreach opportunities, students can go on mission trips, tutor K-12 students, feed the homeless, serve with local nonprofits including Habitat for Humanity and more.

These are only some of the opportunities that GCU provides to help students live out their commitment to Christian principles. Spend some time on campus, and you will likely notice students greet each other with smiles and hugs, making it easy to see the heartbeat of the Christian community at GCU.

GCU is committed to offering a private, affordable and Christian education. To learn more about GCU and its campus life, visit our website or click on the Request More Information button at the top of the page!

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.