Updates on the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Grand Canyon University is closely monitoring and responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and following the guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State of Arizona, the City of Phoenix and the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. The health and safety of GCU’s students, faculty and staff are of utmost importance, and GCU has enacted specific policies and safety measures to mitigate those risks for the 2020-21 academic year.

GCU has options for all students to either continue or start their academic journey in a learning modality that best suits their individual circumstances. If there are students who have underlying health conditions, have family members who are high-risk COVID-19 candidates or simply feel uncomfortable living and studying in a dense campus population, we will support that by providing options to allow them to continue their coursework online in most academic programs for the 2020-21 academic year.

For those who are comfortable being back on campus, they will join a welcoming, robust community operating under the Arizona health guidelines. The GCU Communications and FAQs on this page outline some of those regulations, which will be re-evaluated and adjusted throughout the semester based on guidance from health officials relating to COVID-19 conditions at the time and in accordance with federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations.

Recent Communications from GCU

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Frequently Asked Questions


The Grand Canyon University campus remains open for the spring semester under health guidelines issued by the CDC and Arizona health authorities. The City of Phoenix and Maricopa County have joined many other Arizona cities and mandated that face masks be worn in public. GCU has adopted policies and procedures that adhere to these health regulations in an effort to keep students, faculty and staff as safe as possible. GCU will re-evaluate and adjust these guidelines during the spring semester based on guidance from health officials relating to COVID-19 conditions at the time and in accordance with federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations.

There will be no increases in tuition or health/activity fees. GCU has hired additional faculty due to smaller class sizes, hired additional instructional assistants to assist with online support in the blended learning model being implemented for the spring semester, and added mental health counselors and nurses at the Health and Wellness Clinic. GCU has also invested in additional COVID-19 testing procedures, sanitization supplies, personal protective equipment and plastic barriers, as well as converting facilities that will be used to isolate or quarantine individuals who become ill and provide health care and food services for them. There are also additional costs incurred as the result of modifications and implementations to activities and events on campus. We estimate these costs will be in excess of $7 million for the spring semester. The university is absorbing those costs and will not pass them on to students.

In-person instruction will end April 1 for about 80% of classes (exceptions being some programs in nursing, athletic training and senior-level engineering), followed by two weeks of online instruction April 5-16 and spring break April 19-25. The online classes will allow some students to return home early if they have summer employment or other opportunities. On-campus residents have the option of returning home or remaining in their dorms during the two weeks of online instruction and spring break. This includes graduating seniors, with commencement scheduled for April 19-21. The end of the spring term remains April 25. Housing prices remain unchanged for the semester.

Three-day weekends will be incorporated into the schedule in January (MLK Day 1/18), February (Presidents Day 2/15), March (Spring Weekend 3/19) and April (Good Friday 4/2) to provide students with breaks from their studies, while students will have the opportunity to take a spring break if they desire at the end of the semester
(April 19-25).

Because students will be on campus fewer days during the semester, service hours will be pro-rated accordingly.

GCU was allotted $22.3 million in CARES Act funds as part of an economic stimulus bill passed by Congress in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. GCU distributed the student portion, which represented 50% of the $22.3 million allotment, last spring to students who were eligible per the stipulations outlined by the Department of Education to reimburse them for disruption to campus operations due to COVID. Universities were permitted to use the remaining 50% (in our case $11.175 million) to cover their own expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. GCU expects to incur in excess of $11.175 million in COVID-related losses, but the university decided to use the institutional portion of the CARES Act funds it has been allocated to directly benefit students as well. That was distributed in the fall semester to all eligible ground traditional students to help them absorb costs related to disruption of campus operations in the fall semester.

International students and DACA students did not qualify for CARES Act funds, per the Department of Education, because they are not Title IV eligible and are otherwise ineligible under another federal law that prohibits certain non-U.S. citizens from receiving federal public benefits.

CDC recommends that institutions of higher education should not make any decisions about school dismissal or cancellation of school events in isolation. Those decisions should be made in coordination with local health officials and should be considered on a case-by-case basis using information from health officials about the local conditions. Those conditions vary from state to state and can include factors such as the number of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in their particular region, community populous and transportation modes, and learning modality options available.

A 50% pro rata credit on housing charges will be calculated based on a percentage of the semester remaining. This credit will be applied to any outstanding balances on the student’s account and any excess will be refunded. Unused Dining Dollars will roll to the next semester based on the amount paid (rolled over credit does not include any discount received as part of the plan purchased). Refunds of Dining Dollars will be provided for students who graduate in April and will therefore not be returning to campus the following semester. Parking fees, health fees, activity fees and other similar fees will not be credited or refunded. If a student chooses to leave campus while the campus remains open, published refund policies for all fees will apply.

New students beginning in January 2021 must complete the online orientation module, which will provide important information regarding campus resources and connection opportunities. The link to complete the module will be sent to the student’s GCU student email and is accessible through the Student Portal. During the first week of the spring semester, new students are encouraged to participate in orientation groups, the orientation fair and social events. More information can be found at @gcuwelcome on Instagram.

Individual and small-group tours will continue during the day. Overnight Discover trips have been canceled indefinitely. The university does offer virtual GCU Live tours in a more expanded version for students who want a broader exposure to campus life. Visit https://www.gcu.edu/admissions/visit-gcu-campus for more information.

Coursework and Classroom Instruction

The first week of the semester will take place online for most classes through LoudCloud, GCU’s robust learning management system. All coursework will remain the same. Starting the semester online will provide students with flexibility on traveling back to campus after the holidays, as they can return any time in the first week that best fits their schedule.

In-person instruction will continue with a blended model in which most classrooms will be at 40-50% capacity to create appropriate physical distancing and lessen the risks of infection for students and faculty. Classes are still scheduled for Tuesday/Thursday, Wednesday/Friday or Monday. Depending on the class, your portal will indicate which day you have been scheduled for face-to-face instruction and which will occur remotely. The alternate remote day will occur in various formats which your instructor will convey to you. Some classes, such as laboratory-intensive courses, have in-person instruction on both days. For many quantitative types of courses such as science, math and business, the blended instructional model will be structured to provide students even more in-class engagement through video conferencing software with instructors.

In-person instruction will end April 1 for about 80% of classes (exceptions being some programs in nursing, athletic training and senior-level engineering), followed by two weeks of online instruction April 5-16 and spring break April 19-25. The online classes will allow some students to return home early if they have summer employment or other opportunities. On-campus residents have the option of returning home or remaining in their dorms during the two weeks of online instruction and spring break. This includes graduating seniors, with commencement scheduled for April 19-21.

Courses will maintain the same curriculum, the same continuity of instruction and learning, and the same educational outcomes. To ensure that all classes receive the same amount of in-person instruction from their professors, most classes will be scheduled for Tue/Thu, Wed/Fri, or Monday time slots. Students’ class schedules will be updated no later than Dec. 31 to reflect these changes.

For other courses that require more hands-on work in a laboratory environment, safe environments will be created to ensure that the coursework can be completed and all learning outcomes are achieved. Those requirements are specific to each college. More information regarding these courses will be forthcoming from the dean of each college.

GCU will make every effort to make reasonable accommodations for students to continue their coursework and complete classes remotely while in quarantine. Requests for accommodation will be reviewed on an individual basis by Student Disability Services pursuant to the University Policy Handbook. In order to request reasonable accommodations through Student Disability Services, students must have initially reported the exposure or illness to the GCU Health and Wellness Clinic. For some specific classes (i.e., clinicals, labs, field experience) that require in-person participation, accommodations may be difficult to replicate online or make up, and students’ coursework may be affected.

Students have the option of choosing to continue their coursework for most programs in an online modality for the spring semester. Exceptions are nursing and other laboratory-intensive programs due to the hands-on nature of those programs.

Unfortunately, no. The face to face -- or physical component -- of the course has a physical distance requirement that decreases the class size of every section, compared to a non-COVID semester. To maintain safety for faculty and students, we cannot override the number of students in each section. Therefore, students who start online will have to maintain their online request for the semester.

Yes, faculty on the ground campus are transitioning to the hybrid model. Additional faculty and instructional assistants will be hired due to the reduced class sizes and blended learning model.

Office hours for faculty will continue in a virtual model through Zoom conversations.

The Academic & Career Excellence Centers, Math Center, Writing Center, English Language Learners Center, Science Center, Theology Commons and Library will continue to operate to support students. Support areas will provide virtual academic and career support, by appointment, through Career Connections. If face-to-face appointments are required, personal protection equipment, physical distancing, sanitation guidelines and capacity limits will be incorporated.

Evening cohort classes have been transitioned to the LoudCloud online learning environment through the end of the semester.

Facilities and Residence Halls

Our Food Services team will continue to streamline operations to serve students in a safe and sanitary manner and take every precaution for the spring. In order to comply with city health regulations, this will include offering only takeout meals that students can either eat in an outdoor setting with fellow students or take back to their rooms. Food Services will follow every guidance from the CDC and/or state and federal authorities. The same food options will be available with an increase of grab-and-go options at most locations in order to compensate for physical distancing and to keep lines at a minimum. Also, our grocery store and convenience stores will have increased grab-and-go options and offer greater selections. These safety measures will be reevaluated and adjusted based on the COVID-19 health regulations at the time.

Indoor areas such as the Student Union will be open as a study area or place to congregate if students are wearing masks and practicing physical distancing, but indoor dining is not permitted at this time. These regulations will be reevaluated and adjusted based on the COVID-19 health regulations at the time.

Residence hall living will be very typical, although physical distancing protocols will likely be incorporated in community areas such as lobbies, laundry areas, elevators, etc.

The Library will maintain the same hours during the spring semester: 7 am - 2 am weekdays and 8 am - 2 am weekends. Library staff will wear face masks and maintain physical distance protocols. Students visiting the Library are also expected to respect these safety practices. Seating on the Library floors will be adjusted to maintain safe distances. Library study rooms will be available for individual use only and not group study. Regular cleaning and sanitizing will take place, and sanitation stations will also be available for students.

The Ask-A-Librarian service continues to be available for research assistance via phone, email, chat and video conferencing, 7 am - 10 pm weekdays and 10 am -10 pm weekends. Library resources, databases, articles, ebooks, research guides and tutorials are available online 24/7 and can be accessed at https://library.gcu.edu.

Workout facilities and swimming pools will be available for use according to CDC and local health authority guidelines. Physical distancing, density limits and extra cleaning routines will be in place. The use of fitness centers will be by appointment only. Workout sessions can be scheduled through the Campus Recreation page (https://myrec.gcu.edu/ with student credentials). Swimming pools also will be available only by appointment in order to limit capacity.

These facilities will be open and available for students to study or congregate if they are wearing masks and practicing physical distancing. These regulations will be reevaluated and adjusted based on COVID-19 health regulations.

In order to maintain the safety of the GCU community and minimize potential spread of COVID-19, GCU’s current policy states that students are not permitted to have guests in their living areas. An exception is granted for a family member or friend who is actively assisting in unloading or loading a vehicle as part of the move-in/move-out process.

For more information, please review the Supplemental University Policy Handbook.

Because GCU is fortunate to have the vast majority of its buildings built within the last 10 years, our heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems meet modern standards for fresh air intake, filtration and circulation. We reviewed those setups to ensure we don’t have air circulation patterns that exacerbate virus spread. For the few older buildings on campus, we have adapted or are in the process of adapting the HVAC systems to allow greater fresh air intake and again will ensure air circulation patterns don’t aid in the spread of any virus.

The GCU Golf Course is open and adhering to recommendations from local, state and federal health officials. We are no longer taking cash payments. We are only allowing four guests in the Pro Shop at a time and check-in is completed outside through our check-in window. Please follow the CDC recommendations and stay six feet apart at all times.

The Learning Lounge will continue to support our community’s K-12 students with virtual academic assistance Monday - Friday from 3 pm to 8 pm. K-12 students can access the Learning Lounge by appointment or by contacting the Learning Lounge directly. The Students Inspiring Students full-tuition scholarship program will continue for students who meet the criteria.

Because of the size of our facility, we will be able to maintain physical distancing and still provide excellent customer service to our students, staff and faculty. Hours of operation are being extended to Monday - Saturday 7 am to 7 pm once students return to campus. Mail Center staff will be wearing PPE (masks, face shields and gloves) and will sanitize continuously during the day. A deep cleaning will occur after hours. As an additional service, and because of physical distancing, the back of the Mail Center will continue to operate as an additional entry point if overflow is needed. Students can also check their Student Engagement App to view lines at the Mail Center.

Campus Life and Events

The CDC recommends that people wear face coverings in public settings and cites emerging evidence from 16 different clinical and laboratory studies that show face coverings reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth, which greatly reduces the spread of the virus. This recent study also supports that finding. Further, as the number of coronavirus cases in Arizona continues to increase daily, both Maricopa County and the City of Phoenix have voted to join many other Arizona cities and mandate that face masks be worn in public.

We are adhering to those guidelines by requiring masks to be worn in classrooms, restaurants and other indoor community spaces, as well as outdoor settings where physical distancing of at least six feet is not possible. This includes common spaces such as elevators, lobbies, restrooms, meeting rooms, laundry rooms and crowded walkways. Students may remove face coverings within their dorm rooms or outdoor settings where physical distancing is possible.

In order to reopen the campus, we need participation and responsible action on everyone’s part for the greater good of the entire campus community. We have to be cognizant of faculty, staff and students who may be considered high risk for COVID-19 and protect those who are more vulnerable. We are hopeful and confident that everyone will show the grace and compassion that makes our Christian community so special.

We will continue to evaluate face covering requirements during the spring semester. Masks will be provided for every GCU student. You are also welcome to wear your own masks.

Gatherings such as Chapel, athletic contests, Welcome Week activities and social events such as Lope-a-palooza, Midnight Madness, Mr. GCU, Lip Sync, etc., are a hallmark of the GCU experience. Depending on guidelines at the time from the CDC, Arizona health authorities and the NCAA, those may be adjusted, as necessary, to reduce population density and ensure the health and safety of our campus community. Physical distancing and mask wearing could be components of events or spaces in which there are dense populations. Events may also be spread out over multiple venues, be held in outdoor settings or scheduled at multiple times.

Smaller gatherings such as Life group sessions and club activities may be limited to 10 people or fewer while adhering to health guidelines in existence at the time, such as face masks and physical distancing.

Homecoming Family Week is set for March 1-7. Traditionally, Homecoming has welcomed back our alumni community, while Family Weekend has invited the families of our current Lopes. This year we are thrilled to combine these events and celebrate with our entire extended Lope family.

GCU leadership will continue to evaluate the safety of in-person events in response to new updates regarding the coronavirus pandemic. Please look for more information in the coming months.

To protect students from possible coronavirus exposure or infection, we are temporarily halting local outreach efforts that require groups to go off campus until COVID-19 conditions allow for a more safe environment. Outreach efforts will instead be focused on our GCU campus to impact and educate students through both local and global outreach opportunities.

Yes, travel restrictions for club sports and student clubs/organizations will remain in place until further notice. However, we are developing parameters and protocols unique to club sports so that there can be some level of competition from Feb. 1 – March 30. This will be a tentative commitment to competition for club sports. A confirmation to actual competition, travel, etc. will be decided late January 2021.

For the spring semester, move-in will occur from Jan. 2-9. We have instituted an appointment move-in process, which allows students to select a move-in appointment that best fits their schedule. Students can refer to their student email for instruction on how to select a move-in time slot. Upon arrival, new students will be assigned an 18-foot parking space in front of their building. Residence halls will have 30 minutes to unload and apartments will have 45 minutes, so it is important to arrive on time. Please note that due to COVID-19 guidelines, students and guests will be required to wear masks. Families are only permitted inside residence halls while students are actively moving in.

Family members or friends may actively assist in unloading or loading a vehicle as part of the move-in process. However, students should limit the number of people accompanying them for move-in, especially if they have family members who are more at-risk to COVID-19, since we will be hosting people from all over the country that week. Those family members will also be required to wear a face mask per guidelines by the City of Phoenix and local health authorities. To reduce population density and exposure to others on campus, parents are asked to return home after move-in and orientation sessions are finished.

Yes, all career networking events will occur in a virtual format and we are working with our industry partners to help them set up remote hiring events. There are walk-throughs and guides for students that will assist them with virtual hiring events.

Out of caution to keep our GCU volunteers, Habitat volunteers and the homeowners safe, all Operation Revival volunteer projects are temporarily suspended. If you have signed up for a project, you will be contacted directly with more information. GCU looks forward to joining together with Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona to assess the appropriate steps to take in the coming weeks.

Arizona health regulations still currently prohibit large public gatherings, so we cannot yet bring our spring 2020 grads or their families back onto campus for commencement. We continue to hope that at some point in 2021 we can provide a safe on-campus celebration for those alumni. We know how important and meaningful it would be for you, your family and friends. Please know we appreciate your continued patience and as we pray for you, we hope that you will pray for us as we make decisions for all of our students, staff, faculty and alumni.

We have been able to have scaled-down events such as basketball games and commencement for 2020 December grads because those are considered private events for current ground students only. Bringing alumni back onto campus would constitute a public event.

After discussions with students, we have decided to host in-person traditional commencement ceremonies just for graduating seniors April 19-21 at GCU Arena. Health and safety guidelines will be in place, including physical distancing and required face coverings, and only graduate candidates may attend. This allows students to walk across the stage and celebrate their accomplishments with their classmates. Given the current COVID-19 guidelines in Arizona, we still are unable to bring families and guests onto campus for large gatherings – in particular one that would safely assemble people from throughout the country. The commencement ceremony will be live streamed for family and friends to watch online.

*Dates, times and modalities of commencement ceremonies may be subject to change.

Online and cohort graduates for spring 2020 and fall 2020 were recognized with a virtual commencement ceremony on Oct. 17. The ceremony is still viewable here: https://forms.gcu.edu/grand-canyon-university-virtual-commencement. For those of you who still wish to participate in an in-person ceremony and on-campus celebration, we will have more details whenever Arizona health guidelines, again, permit large public gatherings on campus.


*Dates, times and modalities of commencement ceremonies may be subject to change.

Yes, all students are being asked to download the GCU Engage app and complete a daily Health Pass. Students will need to complete this pass in order to be let onto campus. Your Health Pass must be shown at every Public Safety checkpoint. Please make sure to fill out your Health Pass before arriving on campus to avoid backups at checkpoints.

GCU Engage is available for download in the App Store and Google Play.


Active cases:

There is 1 positive COVID-19 case connected to the GCU campus community. Of those, 0 are students and 1 is an employee.

Since Jan. 1, 2021:

There have been 563 positive COVID-19 cases connected to the GCU campus community. Of those, 486 are students and 77 are employees.

All data last updated 05/09/2021

We use a multi-tiered approach starting with wiping and disinfecting touchpoints (door handles, counters, elevator buttons, etc.), common areas and restrooms multiple times throughout each day in every building. At night, our staff will clean and sanitize the facilities in greater detail, including the use of electrostatic spray guns for disinfecting. Lastly, we are providing cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer in classrooms and common areas across campus so students, faculty and staff can also clean desks, chairs and other items before and after use. Those living on campus will still be responsible for cleaning their individual rooms and suites.

Voluntary tests are widely available for all students who wish to be tested. Please contact the COVID Hotline at 602-639-7300 option #4 to speak with a medical provider, Health and Wellness Clinic or testing. 

The CDC does not recommend that all students be tested upon arrival.

No, the Health and Wellness Clinic will submit under the student’s health plan and the uninsured will be covered under the CARES Act. If a quick test is done in the Health and Wellness Clinic, it will be covered with the visit copay.

The Student Care department is adding four new therapists to the staff and increased the physical size of the office space. This will greatly increase the opportunities for face-to-face crisis intervention. For face-to-face crisis meetings, physical distancing and the use of face masks may be utilized, depending on the directives from the CDC. As well, Student Care will provide increased telehealth opportunities for students who need ongoing treatment.

If you feel ill, please use the COVID Hotline at 602-639-7300 option #4. The GCU Health and Wellness Clinic asks that you call ahead so their team can properly screen each individual prior to entering the clinic. Many of the visits can be done by Telehealth. If it is determined based on the telehealth visit that an in-person visit is necessary, staff will arrange for a safe in-person visit with one of their qualified medical professionals. If a student is seen in the Health Clinic, a mask will be required to enter. Upon entering the Health Clinic there will be a kiosk with the necessary PPE for those that need it. You can contact the GCU Health and Wellness Clinic at 844-391-1949 or healthcenter@gcu.edu. If you are faculty or staff and experiencing these same symptoms, seek medical attention by calling a medical professional and do not come to work. Further instructions are available on LopeNet for faculty and staff. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, call 9-1-1 or seek immediate care at the nearest emergency room. If you have traveled to a CDC level 2 or 3 country, do not return to campus. GCU requires that you stay off campus to complete the 14-day self-quarantine prior to returning.

There will be hand sanitizer available in every building on campus and Student Affairs is working to get every student a complimentary small bottle. However, we encourage everyone to also bring their own.

GCU has taken a number of measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting common and frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, handles and elevator buttons in residential areas, classrooms, laboratories, restaurants and other high-traffic areas. Our cleaning supplies meet CDC and EPA recommended standards to aid in the prevention and spread of emerging viral pathogens and infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

Additionally, we increased the amount of hand sanitizing stations in high-traffic areas. We are continuing an education campaign through social and print media outlining the steps students, faculty and staff can take to help stop the spread of germs. The best way to prevent illness during flu season is to take daily preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work and school.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

GCU encourages individuals to get a COVID-19 vaccination and will ensure it has enough vaccines on hand so that any student who wants one can get it during the fall semester. However, vaccines will not be required. The American College Health Association has adopted similar guidelines in which it highly recommends that students receive a vaccine but has not recommended that universities make that mandatory.

Those same guidelines have been in place during the spring semester at GCU, with a vaccine incentive available to students, faculty and staff who serve as volunteers at the public Point of Dispensing (POD) vaccination site the university has operating on behalf of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

Results this spring are an indication that the university’s voluntary vaccination and testing policies, combined with our COVID-19 mitigation efforts on campus, are working. Active cases of COVID-19 among students and employees on campus have been extremely low, even reaching one week in which there were zero active cases.

GCU will continue to remain in contact with local health authorities and monitor the situation.

Quarantine and Isolation Protocol

If a student tests positive, contact tracing will occur and any students who have come in contact with the infected individual will also be tested. Affected individuals will be placed in quarantine or isolation and cared for, while reasonable accommodations will be made to continue their classroom instruction. Students who live in close proximity to GCU and Arizona may have the option to return home for quarantine or isolation after completing a public health evaluation. If a cluster of positive results is identified, we will do extensive testing in those areas.

If a roommate tests positive, the roommate will immediately be placed into isolation. Depending on the contact tracing done, others in the room may be quarantined as well.

Students will be placed in either Canyon or Cypress residence halls.

If a student comes into contact with a known positive COVID-19 case OR is contacted by public health department advising to self-quarantine, please call the COVID Hotline at 602-639-7300 option #1. CDC and local public health recommendations are for quarantine up to 14 days. The need to, and time within, quarantine will be based upon exposure date and COVID testing.

Individuals are considered a close contact of a person who tests positive for COVID-19 if they live in the same household or are within six feet of distance for more than 10 minutes within 48 hours of the sick person’s onset of symptoms. GCU follows these protocols.

Student Disabilities Services (SDS) will be contacted and will send a notification to your professors or instructors. There are detailed plans in place so your academic career will not be impacted. They will send you a “game plan” for while you are in quarantine or isolation.

Each suite has a refrigerator, microwave and case of water. Students have the ability to bring food or snacks with them to quarantine or isolation. Upon check-in, students will receive instructions on how to order food for delivery using their meal plan.

Communications from GCU

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Reporting

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) was passed which authorized funding under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (“HEERF”) to Institutions of Higher Learning. These funds were divided into a “Student Portion” and “Institutional Portion”.  The Student Portion is required to be provided as Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.  The Institutional Portion is to be used to reimburse the university for costs it incurred related to disruption on campus.  GCU is committed to using the Institutional Portion to provide additional student grants and other expenditures for the direct benefit of students. 

Grand Canyon University signed and returned to the Department of Education its Certification and Agreement for the Student Portion on April 15, 2020, with our assurance that GCU has used or intends to use 100% of the Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students funding for eligible students. We have $11,175,699 available for the Student Portion.

As of July 29, 2020, there were an estimated 18,000 students from spring 2020 eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (the “HEA”) and were potentially eligible to receive the Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. The university sent out 17,946 emergency grant checks totaling $10,947,060.

In order to be considered for this grant, students attending the spring 2020 term must have been in an Active status within our Student Information System as of March 1, 2020, must have been enrolled as a regular student in an eligible program of study that was not offered in a 100% online modality, and must have met all Title IV eligibility requirements set forth in HEA Section 484. As we confirm students’ eligibility for Title IV funding, the estimated number of eligible recipients fluctuated. Recognizing that all eligible students experienced additional expenses due to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, GCU determined that the most equitable way to disburse these grant funds to our students was to divide our total allocation by the estimated number of eligible students.

Information on the use of the Student Portion grant funds was communicated to students via a letter insert with the emergency grant check which informed students that this grant was to assist with any unforeseen expenses that may have been incurred as a result of the disruption of campus operations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic such as expenses for food, housing, course materials and technology, health and childcare. Students for whom GCU was unable to confirm eligibility to receive a grant based on HEA Section 484 requirements have also been contacted to provide them an opportunity to demonstrate eligibility under HEA Section 484.

Subsequent to July 29, 2020, the university was able to validate students’ eligibility and additional Student Portion grants were distributed and others were returned to the university by students for various reasons. As of 9/30/2020, GCU has issued a total of 17,867 checks totaling $10,898,970 for the Student Portion for eligible students.  The remaining funds will be disbursed to students by the end of December 2020.

As of December 31, 2020, the university completed the disbursement of the entire $11,175,699 in emergency financial aid grants to 18,420 eligible students.  Additionally, in October 2020, GCU received the Institutional Portion of the CARES Act funds in the amount of $11,175,698.  The university retained $3,055,807 to offset housing refunds issued to students in the spring 2020 semester. The remaining amount of $8,119,891 was disbursed directly to 16,239 students as additional emergency financial aid grants. 

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