GCU bucks national trend with largest incoming class in its history

GCU students move into Turquoise Apartments, one of two new residence halls on campus. (Photo by Ralph Freso)

(Aug. 30, 2022) – Amidst a national environment in which nearly 7% fewer high school graduates are enrolling in college, Grand Canyon University continues to set enrollment records.

The private Christian university will welcome its largest incoming class ever of approximately 9,700 expected new students for the 2022-23 academic year, bringing the total campus-based enrollment to roughly 25,000. The previous largest incoming class was nearly 9,000 last year, when total enrollment was 23,500.

“That’s a reflection of the quality and relevancy of our academic programs, low class sizes, affordable campus tuition rates that have been frozen for 14 straight years, a campus that is rated in the top 20 in the country, and the vibrant Christian community atmosphere that we are known for,” said GCU President Brian Mueller. “Even with three additional residence halls on campus this year, which we thought might provide some cushion for on-campus housing, we will be completely full due to the number of students wanting to be part of the campus environment.”

Following a week of spirited Welcome Week activities to help students acclimate to the GCU campus, classes for the fall semester begin Sept. 6.

According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC), the percentage of 2020 high school graduates who immediately enrolled in college dropped by 6.8% in fall 2020 – a rate four times greater than the 1.5% decrease for college-going graduates in 2019. Those decreases disproportionately impact graduates of low-income, high poverty and high minority high schools. For example, the NSCRC study found the decline in immediate college enrollment from graduates at high-poverty schools (-11.4%) was far worse than those from low-poverty schools (-2.9%). And the decline at high-minority schools
(-9.4%) was nearly twice than that at low-minority schools (-4.8%).

“We’re not seeing that,” Mueller said. “By keeping tuition affordable, we’re ensuring that higher education is attainable for all socioeconomic classes. Of our 9,700 new students this year, more than 2,800 of those will be first-generation college students. That’s significant and is a very positive part of the GCU story.” When students return to campus for the 2022-23 academic year, they will find two new six-story apartment-style residence halls (Turquoise and Oak Creek), a third residence hall (Cypress) that had previously been used for visits by prospective students, a new dine-in Havocs House restaurant coming to GCU Arena and additional social gathering areas for students.

The new residence halls feature suites with four single-occupancy bedrooms that share a common living area, kitchen and two bathrooms. That brings the total number of residence halls on campus to 29 and the total number of beds to approximately 17,500. GCU’s residence halls are rated No. 5 out of 1,371 schools in the country by niche.com based on student surveys, affordability and safety.

The 2022-23 academic year will also mark the one-year anniversary of GCU’s CityServe operation that provides household goods to families in need. To date, GCU has partnered with 90 churches and nonprofit agencies that serve as Points of Distribution (PODs) that have provided more than $2.7 million in goods from GCU’s warehouse to more than 6,500 families throughout Arizona. The warehouse stores excess household goods such as beds, furniture, diapers, heaters, fans, etc., from major retailers such as Costco, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Amazon as well as items from Phoenix-area stores to assist families.

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About Grand Canyon University:  Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 and is Arizona’s premier private Christian university. GCU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers 312 academic programs, emphases and certificates for both traditional undergraduate students and working professionals. The University’s curriculum emphasizes interaction with classmates, both in-person and online, and individual attention from instructors while fusing academic rigor with Christian values to help students find their purpose and become skilled, caring professionals. For more information, visit gcu.edu.

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