Grand Canyon Education (dba Grand Canyon University) spans a broad educational horizon. The regionally accredited educator offers graduate and undergraduate degrees online, at its bricks-and-mortar campus in Phoenix, and onsite at corporate facilities. Grand Canyon University offers career-oriented degree programs focused on the core disciplines of business, education, health care, and liberal arts. Working adults make up most of the school's student body. Grand Canyon University enrolls almost 44,000 students annually; about 90% are enrolled in online programs, and about 45% of those pursue master's or doctorate degrees. Most classes have a student-teacher ratio of about 25:1.
Grand Canyon University keeps its enrollment numbers up by marketing itself to working adults (whom the company defines as 25 years and older) seeking to complete their education, switch careers, or earn a higher degree in the field in which they already work. Grand Canyon University attracts adult students with the flexibility and convenience of online classes, and conversely, adult students are attractive to Grand Canyon University because they are generally more stable, able to finance their education, and have higher completion rates than younger students.
To enhance its brand and continue to attract students, Grand Canyon University invests in technology to update its infrastructure and expanding its physical campus. In 2012 it will begin constructing its first parking garage. Other improvements have included constructing a basketball and entertainment arena, a new dorm, an activity center, and an Arts and Sciences classroom building. The university also keeps tabs on industry trends and adjusts its course offerings accordingly. For example, increased demand for nursing programs led the school to establish satellite locations at multiple hospitals where nursing students can complete their clinical education while also completing other course work online. It has similar onsite arrangements with certain employers, such as schools and school districts, through which students can pursue a profession in teaching.
Grand Canyon University derives about 80% of its income from tuition that is financed under Title IV programs (federal grants and loans to students awarded on the basis of their financial need). Other sources of income come from self-funding, private loans, other financial aid programs, and employer tuition reimbursements.
During 2011 the school's ground enrollment increased by 33% and online enrollment rose by 3% over 2010 levels. Grand Canyon University attributes these gains to brand recognition and affordability. Costs for its ground traditional campus learning experience compare to the price a student would pay as an in-state resident attending a public college. Grand Canyon University's operating income also increased that year by more than 40% over 2010 mainly due to increased revenue from room and board and student fees.
In 2010 the university transitioned from a calendar-year term based financial aid system to a "borrower-based, non-term (BBAY) system to provide flexibility and rolling start dates for its students.
Originally founded as Grand Canyon College, a private, not-for-profit college, in 1949, the university moved to its existing campus in Phoenix in 1951. In 2004 several of its stockholders acquired Grand Canyon University and converted it to a for-profit institution. The company then raised about $126 million through a public offering, which was completed in 2008 after a four-month-long IPO drought in the US.
Through venture finance firm Endeavour Capital, directors Chad Heath and D. Mark Dorman together own less than 5% of the firm. FMR owns almost 7%, and chairman and former CEO Brent Richardson owns about 3% of Grand Canyon Education. – less