Founded by the Southern Baptist Church as Grand Canyon College in 1949, Grand Canyon University is a private, proprietary Christian college located on 179 acres about four hours’ driving distance from Phoenix, Arizona. The school started out as a nonprofit institution, but financial concerns in the early 2000s forced administration to rethink operations and the university’s overarching business model. In 2004, the school became a for-profit college with an emphasis on degree programs for working professionals, especially those related to education and nursing. The school retains its Christian heritage as a nondenominational institution.

Grand Canyon University unveiled its new College of Science, Engineering and Technology in the summer of 2014 with the hopes of drawing in students who want to explore STEM-based careers. They have since added several degree programs related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics in an effort to support the college’s expansion. The school also built a classroom building that spans over 84,000 square feet. The new building is dedicated to STEM majors and classes.

Students at Grand Canyon University will appreciate a wide range of amenities that contribute to the overall student experience, including contemporary fitness centers, “resort-style swimming pools,” and an events arena that seats 7,000 students. An off-campus hotel owned and operated by the university accommodates visiting friends and relatives. For golf enthusiasts and students interested in golf management, Grand Canyon also manages its own golf club. The campus is always expanding in an attempt to appeal to a broader range of students. Recently, Grand Canyon has spent a lot of time and money into developing its online programs. According to the school’s website, “tens of thousands of online students” attend the university from around the world.

Grand Canyon University Accreditation Details

Grand Canyon University has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1968. In 2007, the school attained re-accreditation for another 10 years. Several of the school’s individual core programs have also earned accreditation. The nursing program, for instance, has been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Programs in education, athletic training and business are also accredited.

Grand Canyon University Application Requirements

With the exception of theology majors, Grand Canyon University does not require students to sign statements of faith in order to enroll. Applicants need to be at least 16 years old to be admitted. Undergraduate students must meet one of the following requirements in order to be considered:

  • A high school GPA of at least 3.0
  • An ACT score of 19 or an SAT score of 920 (or 1380 on a 2400-point scale)
  • A GED with a qualified transcript of courses

Graduate candidates must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school and a minimum GPA of 2.8. Those who are interested in attending Grand Canyon can apply online by clicking on the link on the school website.

Tuition and Financial Aid

As a private college, Grand Canyon University charges students the same rate for tuition whether they’re residents of Arizona or not. The difference lies in enrollment status. The following outlines different tuition rates for undergraduates and graduates:

  • Those taking 12-18 credit hours in a traditional program pay $8,250 per block.
  • Undergraduate students enrolled in a traditional degree program pay $687.50 per credit hour up to 11 hours or over 18 hours.
  • Students who enroll in an online program pay different rates based on program. Undergraduate nursing students, for example, pay $470 per credit.
  • Graduate rates also vary based on program. Graduate nursing students pay $500 per credit.

Grand Canyon University offers loans, work-study opportunities, grants and scholarships to students who need financial aid. Applicants should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to determine eligibility. Scholarship opportunities include the Direct or Indirect Start Scholarship, the Phi Theta Kappa Grant, the Canyon Christian Schools Consortium (CCSC) Scholarship and the Student Inspiring Students Scholarship, among others.

Degree in Focus: Online RN to BSN

For registered nurses who want to earn a bachelor’s degree, Grand Canyon University offers an online RN to BSN program that is not only accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education but also falls in line with standards outlined by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. According to the department website, the curriculum at Grand Canyon “focuses on the application of clinical reasoning, research, evidence-based practice, collaboration and leadership.” Students will take courses from practicing nurses and other health care professionals with significant experience in their fields. The program centers on key aspects of patient care and health care administration, including:

  • Leadership and development
  • Methodology related to health history screenings
  • Applied statistics as it relates to health care
  • How different factors affect the field of health care
  • “Health promotion issues” related to the family
  • The application of research to clinical practice

Students will complete 120 credit hours divided as follows: six to eight general education credits, 36 major-specific credits, and 76 to 78 elective credits. There are 11 required core courses, the last of which is a 6-hour professional capstone and practicum experience. Transfer students can transfer up to 90 credits to the program, but only 84 may be lower-division courses. Students can take evening classes if they prefer an on-campus environment, but the RN to BSN program is designed to be delivered online for working professionals. Most courses last about five weeks, but there are exceptions for certain core requirements, including the capstone and general courses on English and math.

In terms of student experience, the online RN to BSN program allows candidates to study a broad range of courses that are designed to enhance a nursing career. Ethical decision-making, critical thinking, the influence of spirituality on health care, and nursing management are among the general concepts that students will learn while enrolled in the program. The school also offers “experiential learning and indirect practice immersion experiences” so that students can develop key practical skills. Experiential learning is directed and monitored by experienced faculty mentors. Nurses who want to advance in their careers or go on to pursue a master’s degree will appreciate the practical and straightforward program offered by Grand Canyon University.

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