GCU’s Glossary of Terms: Understanding the College Application and Enrollment Process

GCU understands that the college application and enrollment process can be complicated for parents and students. The following GCU glossary of common terms and acronyms can help your family navigate this process, as well as become familiarized with Grand Canyon University and the unique GCU college experience.

Academic Calendar: GCU’s academic calendar notes important dates and deadlines that students need to be aware of, such as semester move-in dates, semester and holiday breaks and commencement.

Academic Programs: Academic programs include our extensive bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, emphases and certifications students can earn within various majors and GCU colleges.

Accreditation: Accreditations speak to the quality of the university and its academic programs, representing acknowledgment by peer institutions. As an accredited university, GCU holds regional, college and program-specific accreditations. Learn more about our regional accreditation, additional accreditation and accrediting bodies.

ACT and SAT: The ACT and SAT are standardized college entrance exams that colleges and universities use during the admission process to determine a student’s eligibility.

Admissions Representative (AdmR): The admissions representative advocates the value of education and recruits qualified high school students to attend GCU. These representatives provide outreach services to students, as well as build relationships with teachers and staff in local school districts.

Advanced Standing Credit: An advanced standing credit is a student credit awarded for competency in a subject matter achieved through previous academic study or employment. Advanced standing is also known as a transfer credit earned through courses taken at another institution or through other educational experiences.

Application/Acceptance/Admission: College application and acceptance make up the college admissions process. A student applies and the college admissions department either accepts or denies the student based on eligibility requirements.

Award Letter: The award letter shows your student the estimated cost to attend GCU, including cost, scholarships, federal aid and estimated remaining balance.

Canyon Meet Up: Canyon Meet Up invites incoming students to meet other future Lopes who are starting college in the fall. Students also get the inside scoop on campus updates and upcoming events.

Discover GCU: This free overnight event invites prospective students to GCU to experience firsthand what it means to be a Lope. Your student stays overnight in a suite-style residence hall, meets other future Lopes, tours campus, attends a campus event and more.

FAFSA: FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This form is used to determine the amount of a money a family is expected to pay for attending college. FAFSA is also used to determine scholarships, grants, work study and loan amounts.

Final Transcripts: The final transcript includes your student’s high school graduation date and unweighted GPA used for admissibility and awarding final institutional aid. The final, official transcript represents all completed coursework and confirms the high school diploma is earned.

Financial Clearance: Financial clearance serves as an audit of your student’s college account, ensuring that the account has been billed all applicable charges and no unpaid balances exist.

Higher Learning Commission (HLC): HLC is an independent corporation and serves a regional institutional accreditor in the U.S. to assure and advance the quality of higher learning. HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions, including GCU, in Arizona.

Housing Plan: GCU’s housing plan includes your student’s housing reservations as an academic yearlong lease and all housing charges, including room and board.

Impaction: Major impaction means that the number of applications from fully eligible students to a designated major far exceeds the number of spaces available in that major. Campus impaction means the campus has exceeded enrollment capacity and received more eligible applications during the initial admission process than can be accommodated. Thus, enrollment is restricted.

Lope Launch Send Off: This event occurs in the summer and is intended to help prepare the whole family for college life. Your student meets other new students as you connect with fellow GCU parents—developing a support system. You and your child will learn all about the transition to college life and participate in fun activities.

Master Promissory Note (MPO): MPO is a legal document stating that your student promises to repay student loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. This document also explains the terms and conditions of the loan(s).

Meal Plan: GCU’s meal plans let students load Dining Dollars onto campus IDs for on-campus dining facilities. Your student can choose from various plans set at difference price ranges.

NCAA Division 1: DI is the highest level of intercollegiate athletes sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the U.S. GCU has 21 Division I sports teams.

New Student Orientation (NSO): New Student Orientation occurs during GCU’s annual Welcome Week, which is a weeklong move-in full of events and activities. Orientation sessions are mandatory and provide important information for students, including campus policies and procedures.

Parent Portal: GCU’s Parent Portal provides you with electronic access to your student’s information. Your student must give you access by submitting the Student Information Release Form (SIRF). You can view financial updates, make arrangements for payment, see important GCU announcements online and more.

Placement Exams: College placement exams test students in subject areas like math and English to determine the academic skill levels of new students. Based on results, students are placed in classes at the appropriate learning level.

Preview GCU: At Preview GCU, you and your student visit GCU to tour campus, learn about scholarship opportunities, explore degree programs and gain all important information, from the registration process and admissions deadlines to financial aid and FAFSA pointers.

Registration Packet: The registration packet includes all information needed for your student to register for GCU. Your student’s enrollment counselor can help with completing this packet.

Student Portal: The student portal at GCU serves as the personal online hub for each student’s personal information (e.g. student ID number). Students can make payments, access LoudCloud, check final grades and more.

Student Services Advisor (SSA): Your student’s SSA provides personalized assistance throughout the academic journey. The SSA advises on university policy and procedures, registration, progression requirements, payment options and ensures academic progress to successfully meet graduation.

Unofficial/Official Transcripts: An unofficial transcript serves as the student’s academic record without a signature, seal, date or sealed envelope. The official transcript is formally sealed in an envelope and marked as “official.”


STEM Summer and Lopes Sports Camps at GCU

GCU Stem Summer Camps

At Grand Canyon University, learning and fun for all ages is year-round—and yes, this includes the summertime. Lazy summer days and lounging poolside are great, but that summertime boredom can quickly kick in. GCU offers STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) summer camps for high school students who want to keep learning, growing and preparing for the future over summer break.

What can you expect at GCU’s STEM Summer Camps?

  • Spend four days and three nights at our beautiful Phoenix campus
  • Experience fun, hands-on activities related to STEM subjects and careers
  • Explore STEM careers, including engineers, health care professionals, scientists, architects, computer programmers and more
  • Learn how STEM disciplines integrate into our daily life and serve as the future

For summer 2016, GCU offers high school students the following two camps:

  • Robots, Web Design and Gaming, Oh My!: Explore computer science and engineering, while developing your own website game or programming robots. You will engage in critical thinking and problem solving to learn what it takes to be a Web designer or gaming professional.
  • Amp Up! Electric Guitars and STEM: Explore the science and engineering of music, while creating your own electric guitar. You will learn about electric guitar materials, design and components, as well as the history and background of other musical instruments. The camp includes a trip to the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) and tours of GCU’s music studio and brand-new STEM building.

By sunset, campers may enjoy these evening activities:

  • Game night and STEM-based team fun
  • Movies
  • Pool parties with a DJ and ice cream
  • Makerfest
  • Bowling

Visit GCU STEM Summer Camps to register!

Lopes Sports Camps

With an NCAA DI athletic program and dominating men’s basketball team, GCU upholds a tradition of athletic excellence for fans, GCU student-athletes—and athletes of all ages and skill levels. Grand Canyon University provides opportunities for young athletes to develop athletic skills in a sportsmanlike environment through its Lopes Sports Camps program. These various sports camps challenge athletes and cultivate individual improvement to foster future athletic success.

The Lopes Sports Camps program may also:

  • Offer fundamental instruction, training, demonstrations and more from experienced coaches and expertly trained staff
  • Provide opportunity to compete in tournaments
  • Present exciting guest speakers
  • Expose campers to sport strategies
  • Create a fun setting where campers can meet new people

What sports camps are available?

  • Basketball
  • Cheer and dance
  • Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Sports medicine
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball and beach volleyball
  • Wrestling

Check out all of the GCU’s Lopes Sports Camps, Lopes Up!


Student Clubs with a Cause: Innovative Computer (iC)

Gifted. Committed. Invested.

Dr. Steve Powelson, an IT faculty member for the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, uses these three words to describe the Innovative Computing (iC) Club in the GCU Today feature, “Techies with Tender Hearts Give Computers, Skills to Community.”

The iC club is the meeting of passionate technology students and altruism—and these gifted techies recently refurbished, reprogrammed and redeployed 100 donated computers within the past year. In February 2016, iC donated these fully equipped desktops (with monitors, keyboards and mice) to four organizations dedicated to disadvantaged community members in Arizona.

This project is a mission work through technology, says Paul Rodriguez, the club’s president. It’s representative of GCU’s mission to foster positive generational change as a Christ-centered educational institution.

Members began this mission project in fall 2015, as soon as the club formed. GCU donated 100 OptiPlex computers and IBM donated the 100 monitors, keyboards and mice. The students installed the open-course operating system Linux Mint and remote communication capability. Each computer features the Innovative Computing (iC) logo and Bible verse: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7)

Previously, iC techies also remodeled an old-fashioned arcade game into a new gaming device and built a pet robot.

STEM Programs and Scholarships with a Higher Purpose 

At GCU, you’re not just participating in mission-focused extra-curricular clubs like iC and earning your degree, you’re serving a higher purpose. Interested in technology or engineering? Explore a career path in STEM in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology. STEM students at GCU develop the skills in-demand by the fast-growing professions in STEM fields. Yet, STEM students also learn from a curriculum aligned with our Christian worldview within a Christ-oriented academic environment. At GCU, this is the coexistence of faith and science.

We define the integration of faith and learning as a scholarly process of joining the knowledge of God and the universe to deepen understanding and advance inquiry throughout professional pursuits in science and STEM-related areas. We believe biblical revelation and scientific inquiry are complementary means of understanding our world. Faith helps shape complex thoughts, ideas and practice throughout scientific exploration and discovery. At GCU, career-readiness includes Christian convictions and science-faith inquiry within a faithful learning environment.

Nearly 50% of GCU students study STEM fields. We encourage these future innovators to enter the workforce to innovate and change the world for the common good.

Learn more about our STEM programs.

GCU offers STEM scholarships ($1,000 per academic year) for students who enroll in a computer science, information technology or engineering program. For information about this STEM scholarship and eligible degree programs, contact an admissions representative at 855-428-5383 or visit


6 Reasons to Pursue GCU’s Center for Worship Arts Program

If you follow your love for Jesus Christ, glorify God, possess a passion for music and dream to pursue worship leadership, then the College of Theology at GCU is where to call your learning ground—and your academic home. The Center for Worship Arts program aims to cultivate talented and ministry-inspired students into next-generation Christian worship leaders through musical skill. Here are six reasons to explore the Center for Worship Arts and discover why this program is your pathway toward finding your purpose as a Lope.

1. Well-Rounded Education in Musical Worship

GCU’s Center for Worship Arts program emphasizes theology, business and music as the worship arts trifecta for developing in-demand worship leaders. By incorporating key elements from the Colangelo College of Business, College of Fine Arts and Production, and College of Theology, you will develop the skills essential for providing musical worship services in churches. This program focuses on theological, business and musical training in order to develop next-generation leaders for churches across the world.

2. State-of-the-Art Recording Studio

GCU’s recording studio was designed to foster community and inspire our future worship leaders through creative outlets. Through this studio, you have the opportunity and support to express, collaborate and share your passion. The studio features a 1,466-square-foot space with four isolation booths designed to accommodate large and small bands, along with a 254-square-foot studio for vocal overdubs, voiceovers, instrument playing and post-production editing. The 1,172-square-foot central control room also provides hands-on experiences.

3. Guidance Under MercyMe Lead Singer Bart Millard

Grammy-nominated Christian rocker Bart Millard oversees the program as the director for Worship Arts. In the early 2000’s, Millard and his bandmates launched the annual Rock & Worship Roadshow. As sponsor, GCU met Millard in which he expressed his passion to help champion kids to learn more about the industry, and serve the church as a worship leader. GCU then named Millard as the program’s director who would develop the curriculum based on his industry experience, passion and one-of-a-kind perspective to help students thrive.

4. True Student Talent

Since its inception in fall 2014, the Center for Worship Arts program has grown to have more than 100 freshman students—all whom possess amazing talent. Three freshman traveled to Nashville to collaborate with Millard on the Center’s first recording and three-song EP “Canyon Worship.” The track “Follow You” hit No. 37 on the iTunes Christian singles chart. Through the studio, GCU aims to release one album per year, and the college has produced 55 original songs so far in 2016.

5. Collaboration with Rend Collective

For Desiree Aguilar who wrote and sang “Follow You,” she attributes working with Rend Collective as one of the many reasons why it’s great to be a student in GCU’s Center for Worship Arts. Rend Collective, the popular Christian band from Bangor, Northern Ireland, visited campus for the second time to have Worship Arts students sing backup vocals. The band professes their love for the worship program, especially because it teaches students how to be good servants and serve the church.

6. Professional Preparation Meets Calling from God

The center supports students who dream to pursue a recording career. However, the center focuses on shaping students into a professional worship leader—a musician who leads the church congregation in song during worship services. This program is designed to provide students with the experience of working in music with a theology degree as its foundation. In the Center for Worship Arts program, you’re not only preparing for a career, you’re also following your calling surrounded by love of Jesus and peers who share your same values and aspirations. Interested in the Center for Worship Arts program in the College of Theology? Visit Learn more about the audition process and finding your purpose in worship leadership.


Campus Life and the GCU Experience

College is about academically preparing for the future. But this special time of professional preparation is also for living in the moment and enjoying the college experience. In between classes and studying, college students make lifelong friendships and create memories that last a lifetime. And at Grand Canyon University, students look forward to a career, while also experiencing everything campus life has to offer. The GCU experience in unlike any other. Lopes learn, live and thrive in a supportive, Christian community on a growing campus surrounded by those who share the same ideals and ambitions.

Campus Living

GCU students can live right on campus within walking distance from classes, activities and events. GCU offers 17 on-campus housing options for incoming, returning and transfer students, including suite-style, fully furnished residence halls and apartment living with outdoor courtyards, pools, laundry facilities and more!

  • Freshmen can choose to live in Acacia, Canyon, Ironwood, Juniper or Willow Halls; Acacia, Ironwood, Juniper and Willow Halls are brand-new residence halls part of freshman-only community The Grove
  • Upperclassmen can choose to live in Camelback, Chaparral, Prescott or Sedona Halls
  • Transfer students can choose to live in Ocotillo or Saguaro Halls
  • Apartment options include North Rim and Papago Apartments, as well as Agave, Encanto and Roadrunner Apartments opening in fall 2016

Campus Expansion

Our campus is experiencing an exciting time of campus expansion for exceptional learning experiences and fun student life.

Students in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology study in the brand-new, fully equipped 84,105-square-foot STEM building. For future innovators, a 142,885-square-foot engineering building is currently under construction.

Lopes Way is where to go to grab a bite, relax outdoors or pick up GCU gear at the Lope Shop. Meet up with friends at Chik-fil-A, Panda Express, Subway or campus convenience store, The Grid.

At Thunder Alley, you can take a break from your studies to play corn hole, darts, shuffleboard or Jenga while snacking on Zoyo yogurt. Then head to Thunderground for pool, ping pong, foosball, bowling and comfy lounging. Love gaming? Face off with friends in the Thunder Alley game room.

Along with great food and entertainment, Lopes playing in intramural and clubs sports will have even more recreational space to play, practice and compete. A new athletic field, as well as sand volleyball and basketball courts will open on campus this spring.

Campus Involvement

There’s never a dull moment at GCU! From academic clubs and student organizations to 22 Division I athletic teams and intramural sports, students are always out and about participating in activities. Numerous opportunities invite Lopes to get involved and most importantly, have fun.

  • Connect with students in your major by joining a club in your college
  • Make friends with students who share your interests by joining an extracurricular activity or organization
  • Let loose throughout the year at annual student activities and events like Midnight Madness, Block Party and Lip Sync
  • Cheer on the men’s basketball team with our crazy student section, the Havocs
  • Join an intramural sport or explore the outdoors with our Outdoor Recreation program

Grand Canyon University Golf Course

At the beginning of 2016, GCU unveiled the newly remodeled Grand Canyon University Golf Course. Formerly the Maryvale Golf Course, this redesigned golf course was expanded beyond 7,200 yards and features a brand-new, two-story clubhouse, including the Lope House restaurant, pro shop and practice area. The GCU Golf Course offers more than competitive play for golfers. It’s a hands-on learning environment for students in the golf management program. These students gain real-world, valuable work experience away from the classroom and books.

Exclusive First-Year Student Opportunities

Excited about the GCU experience? Lopes who have been accepted to GCU can visit campus for free at Discover GCU where you’ll stay overnight in a residence hall, meet other Lopes, tour campus, check out student life and more. To register, visit

Freshman Summer Kick-Start

You can also get ahead with the Freshman Summer Kick-Start program. Experience GCU early and adjust to college life before the fall semester by taking a summer math class for eight weeks in the summer. Contact your admissions representative for more information. Lopes Up!



Passionate About Sports? Pursue a Career in the Sports Industry

Talented athletes. The thrill of competition. High-energy games. Diehard fans. The world of sports is exciting, whether you’re playing on the court or field, cheering in the stands—or even working behind the scenes. Passionate about sports? You don’t have to be an all-star athlete to get involved in collegiate sports or turn sports into the dream career of a lifetime.

Sports business is a highly competitive field for anyone interested in a sports-related career. Professional opportunities exist in the fields of sports management, sales, marketing, event planning, law, facility management and intercollegiate athletics. Other potential career opportunities include professions in sports medicine, athletic training, coaching, physical education, kinesiology or athletic training.

Within sports business, you can narrow your pursuits by focusing on a niche. Are you interested in pro, minor, amateur or youth sports? Do you want to work in video, photography or journalism? Does a path in scouting, sales, marketing or social media sound like the perfect fit?

In “Turning Your Love of Sports into a College Career” by USA Today High School Sports, Dr. Brian Smith, assistant dean of the Colangelo College of Business and director of the sports business major, says, “Maybe [high school students] have played, maybe they have a passion for sports, a love of sports, and they’re wondering, ‘how can I stay involved with this?’ They might not be playing Division I, but can still be connected.”

“This is way more than the game on the floor. There’s this huge industry,” Smith adds.

Sports Opportunities at Grand Canyon University

Sports events are a product, entertainment and entire experience where sports industry professionals can build a long-term career. In response, GCU offers the following sports-related programs within its prestigious Colangelo College of Business:

  • Bachelor of Science in Sports Management: Explore business in the sports industry with specific focus on current issues and trends, event planning, budgeting, site selection, sponsorship and facility management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Management with an Emphasis in Golf Management: Prepare for a career in golf management in recreational facilities, sports organizations, retail stores, or golf clubs and resorts
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Management with an Emphasis in Tennis Management: Cultivate management, finance, marketing and organizational development skills for a career in tennis management within a variety of settings
  • Master of Business Administration with an Emphasis in Sports Business: Strengthen business skills in sales, marketing, finance, revenue generation, analytics, accounting and management to advance a career in the global sports business industry

Hands-On Experience to Enhance Learning

Explore opportunities in sports business and management and get involved early. Build relationships, job shadow, volunteer, seek mentorship and gain hands-on experience throughout your college career. GCU students have interned with Position Sports and Nike Chi-League tournament in Chicago assisting the head event coordinator. Even volunteering at a high school basketball tournament can help lead you toward a major in sports business.

Also, Grand Canyon University recently unveiled the remodeled Grand Canyon University Golf Course, featuring a brand-new 22,000-square-foot clubhouse that includes the Lope House restaurant, pro shop and practice area. Open to the community for play and competition, the GCU Golf Course further serves as a hands-on, real-world learning environment for golf management students. If you’re in the golf management program, learning and working right on the course will help instill the career readiness necessary for entering a job after graduation.

Find your purpose with a challenging, yet rewarding career in the sports industry. Not only do you work within an exciting, fast-paced culture, but you’re building a long-term career in what you’re most passionate about—sports.

Learn more about GCU’s sports business and management programs, as well as golf and tennis management programs.


The Cost of College: How to Help Finance Higher Education

The value of a college education is immeasurable. A college education serves as a lifetime investment providing a college student with lifelong memories, a wide range of learning experiences and a degree that increases his or her marketability within the job market.

Families understand how essential higher education is for creating a greater quality of life (from establishing a career to increasing earning potential). But the cost to attend college is steep, and fewer parents can afford to help pay for an education.

If you’re concerned about how to help your child afford a quality college education, you’re not alone. Use the following guide to help the decision-making process as your family faces the high price of attending college:

Financial Aid Eligibility

Financial aid can help lessen the burden of paying for college, but qualifying for it can be complicated and difficult to obtain. Keep in mind these strategies for maximizing your student’s financial aid eligibility:

  • Save money and put assets in the parent’s name, not the child’s name.
  • Pay off consumer debt, including high credit card balances and car loans.
  • Reduce income, avoiding artificial increases in income.
  • Don’t overestimate your income on FAFSA. Report adjusted gross income, rather than gross income.
  • Avoid taking money out of a retirement fund to help pay for college and make larger contributions to retirement funds (to reduce income).
  • File as soon as possible after Jan. 1.
  • Be mindful of selling assets and capital gains, which can increase income and decrease eligibility.

Loan and Grant Options defines an education loan as a form of financial aid that must be repaid with interest. Loans are categorized in three major categories: (1) student loans (Stafford and Perkins loans), (2) parent loans (PLUS loans) and private student loans (or alternative student loans). Grants, such as state grants and the TEACH grant, can also help reduce college expenses and don’t need to be repaid.

  • Subsidized Stafford Loan: Interest doesn’t accrue while the student’s in school. Also, maximums rise the longer a dependent student stays in school.
  • Unsubsidized Stafford Loan: This loan is available to any student, regardless of need. Yet, interest accrues while the student’s in school.
  • Federal Perkins Loan: This type of loan is made directly to students without a co-signature by a parent. Students can wait nine months after graduation to start repayment and have 10 years to repay the loan.
  • PLUS Loan: As a non-need-based loan, this type of loan is made to parents, rather than students. Credit history determines loan eligibility. The repayment period can extend up to 10 years and the interest rate is typically fixed.
  • Private Loan: Private loans include bank lines of credit, home-equity loans and Signature Student loans. Keep in mind, repayment typically starts immediately. Try to exhaust federal student loan eligibility first because federal loans are less expensive and offer better terms.
  • Pell Grant: The Pell Grant is awarded primarily to low-income families.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant: Administered by colleges, this needs-based grant awards up for $4,000 per year. Recipients may also have to participate in the federal work-study program.


Like grants, scholarships are a type of student financial aid that doesn’t need to be repaid. Scholarships are generally awarded based on special academic, athletic or artistic qualifications. Scholarships may also be awarded to students interested in studying a particular subject matter, minority students, students who are part of an underrepresented group or students who live in a low-income area.

GCU Scholarship Opportunities

Grand Canyon University recognizes the fiscal challenge of financing college and strives to make a quality education affordable for all families. GCU offers various generous scholarship opportunities that can significantly reduce tuition rates. High school students can also help fund college with, an online platform where high school students can earn micro-scholarships for individual achievements. Students can achieve goals to earn these micro-scholarships and track earnings on a live homepage feed. Go to to create a portfolio and start following GCU today!

Visit Tuition and Financing on to learn more about tuition and financing.

Also, explore extensive 2016-17 scholarship and grant opportunities at Grand Canyon University.


Additional resources for more information:


Understanding How to Evaluate and Compare Institutional Scholarship Offers

The value of an education is immeasurable, but the cost of college is steep.

Between academic years 2007-08 and 2012-13, the percentage of first-time, full-time undergraduate students at a four-year, degree-granting institution receiving any financial aid increased from 80 to 85 percent, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

The percentage of students receiving aid at four-year, private, for-profit institutions grew from 76 percent in 2007-08 to 89 percent in 2012-13.

For the majority of students, accepting financial aid is an essential stepping stone toward earning a college degree. Scholarship and grant opportunities in particular can help ease the burden of college costs and make higher education more affordable.

If your student is deciding among different college opportunities and financial aid offers, congratulations on his or her acceptance! Factors such as location, campus culture, school size and academic programs serve as considerations during the decision-making process, but financial aid typically prevails.

Use this guide to help evaluate and compare financial aid and scholarship offers.

Types of Financial Aid

The three main types of financial aid are loans that require repayment, work-study programs and scholarships and grants. Scholarships and grants provide the most impactful financial opportunity; scholarships and grant are given to your student based on academic merit, athletic achievement, minority status, financial need or field of study, for example. These types of financial aid are awarded to your student and aren’t required to be paid back.

Financial Baselines

First, determine the cost of attendance to use as the foremost guiding factor while evaluating financial aid. The cost of attendance includes the estimated cost of tuition and fees, room and board, coursework materials and extra college living expenses, according to

Next, determine your expected family contribution and unmet need for each college. The expected family contribution is the amount your student expects to pay (typically based on your student’s financial aid application, FAFSA or CSS Profile). Your unmet need is the amount needed to pay to meet average annual costs.

The cost of attendance and the estimated amount your family will contribute and is responsible for can help guide which college opportunity is most financially beneficial.

Evaluating Scholarship Offers

The award letter will itemize each financial component, including the cost of attendance, expected family contribution, unmet need and institutional scholarships. Mindful of these financial components, help your student assess scholarship offers by listing each scholarship and name according to amount and conditions for acceptance.

Acknowledge the following details as you and your student evaluate each award:

  • Duration of scholarship
  • Minimum GPA or other academic or course requirements
  • Sport or activity requirements
  • Conditions (for example, is it a high-value annual scholarship with extensive conditions for renewal? Or is it a scholarship with a smaller annual amount but is easily renewable?)
  • Rules in regard to other financial aid your student receives (for example, if the scholarship or grant amount exceeds the amount of financial need, the awards will be reduced)

Evaluating Financial Aid

GoCollege also offers these tips to help make the best decision while evaluating your overall available financial aid:

  • Value scholarships and grant opportunities the most; these never have to be repaid
  • Try to acquire subsidized Federal loans; unlike unsubsidized loans, subsidized loans are more affordable because your student won’t have to pay for interest accrued during college
  • Aim to minimize your unmet need amount, which can mean choosing the school that may not be a top choice, but is more affordable
  • Compare short-term and long-term costs (for example, a loan that covers all costs upfront may cost more down the road, rather than a school offering scholarships or grants that may still leave an unmet need)

Scholarships at Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University recognizes the rising costs of attending college and believes in making a valuable higher education an attainable opportunity.

GCU strives to make a private, Christian education affordable for all of our students. GCU offers generous academic scholarship and grant opportunities and has kept tuition frozen with no increases since 2009. The average student pays approximately $8,300 per year* in tuition after institutional scholarships and grants. Plus, our room and board prices are well below the national average, starting at just $6,050 per year.**

Visit to learn more about full-time, on-campus and outside scholarship opportunities to financially supplement an education at Grand Canyon University. The University Financial Aid Office awards scholarships to support educational goals of students based on factors like academic merit, fine arts, leadership and early decision. Scholarships may also increase based on academic performance at GCU.

Information as of 2015-16

*Average tuition for the academic year 2015-16 after scholarships is approximately $8,300. Scholarships may be awarded based on incomplete transcripts. At the time in which final, official transcripts are received, GCU reserves the right to rescind or modify the scholarship if it is determined that eligibility was not achieved. To be eligible, students must meet scholarship requirements and be fully admissible to the university. GCU reserves the right to decline scholarship awards for any reason. If a student does not meet the minimum renewal criteria, their scholarship will be forfeited. GCU reserves the right to change scholarship awards at any time without notice.

**Housing and meal plan rate includes triple occupancy, suite-style residence hall and $1,350 Dining Dollars, plus applicable sales tax as required by state law. Prices reflect 2016-17 and are subject to change.




Fun Student Activities Throughout the Year at GCU

Grand Canyon University is more than a learning environment for students to earn a quality education and achieve academic goals. GCU is a special place where students make lifelong friendships and memories. GCU students know how to work hard in the classroom—and let loose outside of the classroom. At GCU, Lope Life is one of a kind.

The following list of fun activities bring students together and provide an unforgettable college experience.Midnight Madness-101015.075.JPG

Midnight Madness: More 7,000 GCU fans fill the Arena with high energy to cheer on the men’s and women’s basketball teams, kicking off the new season.

Night Splash Pool Party: Once the sun sets, Lopes let loose and cool off at this pool party full of games, relay races, food and beverages.

Hanging of the Greens: Students get into the spirit of the holiday season with dancing, a live band and refreshments during this festive tradition in the Arena.

Casino Night: Ladies and gents dress up in hats and bowties to participate in casino-style games while enjoying music, a photo booth and light refreshments.

Mr. GCU: Male contestants compete to win the crown as the most talented guy at GCU during this pageant-themed event.Mr GCU-032615.002.JPG

Block Party: Lopes show their love for GCU at this black light dance party with a DJ, food and live performances.

Dive in Movie: Lopes head to the pool to relax, sit back and enjoy a movie outdoors on the big screen.

Lope Country Fair: Dressed in cowboy boots and hats, students do-si-do over to the Grove Lawn for fun festivities at this western-themed event.

Hiking Trip: Lopes adventure out to Superstition Mountains for a hiking trip with peers. Lip Sync-102115.004.JPG

Lip Sync: During this annual talent show, students have a blast entertaining audiences with dancing, singing and more.

Jump in Ball Bit: Students meet up in the Student Union Promenade to pair up with a fellow Lope where they’ll enter a ball pit and answer questions on the balls.

Kentucky Derby: Students dressed in Kentucky Derby-themed attire cheer on teams competing in this soapbox cart racing event.

Messy Games: Students head to the intramural field for some messing around while playing Twister, Fear Factor-inspired games and more.


GCU Commits to Safety for Students and the Community

Grand Canyon University empathizes with a parent seeking peace of mind as their child leaves for college. It’s an exciting, yet uneasy experience for parents—which is why at GCU, safety is a top priority.  The university reassures parents by ensuring maximum student and campus safety with extensive 24/7 security measures.

Not only is GCU committed to providing a safe learning environment on campus, but the university also expanded its commitment to safety beyond campus borders and throughout the community with an effective partnership and initiative.

Concerned about campus safety and west Phoenix crime? Here’s why GCU parents should feel comfortable with their child attending GCU:

GCU Partnership with Phoenix Police Department

In 2012, Grand Canyon University and the Phoenix Police Department partnered together to develop the Neighborhood Safety Initiative, an endeavor that continues to have a transformative impact on crime prevention in the area. The mission of this $1 million, five-year partnership is to reduce crime and build a stronger, safer community in the areas surrounding the university. Funding for the initiative enables the precinct to target trouble spots with additional police, clean up dangerous areas and remove high-crime properties. Rather than fighting crime, the initiative focuses on developing programs to extinguish the roots of crime— poverty, homelessness and gangs.

Crime-Suppression Statistics

For the past three years, the initiative has proven to help crime rates plummet. AZ Central reported on the following crime-reduction statistics in Phoenix, according to data provided by Phoenix police to the FBI:

  • 23.6 percent decrease in reported violent crimes between the first half of 2014 and the first half of 2015, from 246 to 188
  • 19.6 percent decline in property crimes between the first half of 2014 and the first half of 2015, from 859 to 691
  • 2.5 percent drop in property crime rates throughout Phoenix between the first half of 2014 and second half of 2015, from 28,318 to 27,616

Public Safety on Campus

As this partnership continues to help rid the community of violent and property criminal activity, GCU continues to protect its student community within campus. Students and their families can feel comfortable knowing GCU’s Public Safety department deploys a policy and the following procedures to provide a safe and protective environment.

  • 80 staff member Public Safety Department with a 24/7 operation
  • Blue light security stations to report safety concerns, suspicious activity or emergencies
  • Security-controlled campus access points for campus
  • R.A.V.E. emergency text notification alerts
  • ID cards required to access campus facilities
  • Officers stationed in residence halls from 9 pm to 5 am
  • Policy escorts by request
  • Parking privileges and vehicle decals required to park on campus
  • Awareness program offering education, tools and steps to take regarding a situation or incident
  • Incident reporting system with online TIPS tool
  • Wellness check process to report concerns about a specific student
  • Monitored visitor access at campus entrance gates staffed by security personnel

Visit Public Safety at GCU for more information or assistance with a problem.