by David Safier
Grand Canyon University has been much in the local news lately due to its bid to take over the El Rio site, now off the table, and its continuing efforts to set up a campus in the Tucson area. It's a for profit university, which sets off all kinds of alarm bells these days. Too many of those places are recruiting mills that con ill-prepared students into enrolling and taking out huge loans. Large numbers of those students drop out with nothing to show for the experience but loan burdens that follow them for years while the colleges get fat on the government dime.
I did some quick checking, and it looks like GCU doesn't follow that mold, at least its brick-and-mortar campuses (it also has a large on-line education system). It wasn't prominent in stories about for-profit college rip offs. In fact, as today's Star story notes, it has a reasonably large number of undocumented students because its tuition rate, which is comparable to UA, is the same for everyone (with scholarships lowering the costs for some), so undocumented students who have to pay out-of-state tuition at Arizona's state colleges pay the same as other students at GCU. Though the overall graduatioin rate is lower than at our state colleges, it looks like the college is serious about giving students an education.
I'm not wading into the other controversies surrounding the Christian university that led to the city ending the negotiations over the El Rio site. But unlike, say, University of Phoenix which has a horrible reputation for its recruitment practices, GCU appears to have a more student-friendly recruiting and academic policy.