Should I go to Grand Canyon University or Northern Arizona University? Compare the two schools' costs, SAT, ACT, GPA, admissions criteria and outcomes to help you determine if GCU or NAU is the better college for you.

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Grand Canyon University vs. Northern Arizona University comparison
Grand Canyon University Northern Arizona University College 3 College 4
Northern Arizona University
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Location Phoenix, AZ Flagstaff, AZ
Setting Large City Small City
Students 90,253 31,066
Type Private 4 Year Public 4 Year
Religious Affiliation - - - -
Status For-profit Non-profit


Tuition (In State) $16,500 $10,650
Tuition (Out of State) $16,500 $25,270
Room & Board $7,800 $10,534
Avg Net Price $21,332 $14,236
Avg Grant Aid $9,933 $11,656
% Receiving Grant Aid 99% 93%

Admission and Academics

Acceptance Rate 76.9% 84.9%
Avg High School GPA - 3.4
Admissions Standards Unavailable Unavailable
Applicant Competition
ACT Range
SAT Range
Application Deadline Aug 22, 2020


Graduation Rate 31% 52%
Median Earnings (After 10 years) $54,300 $43,900
Making Student Loan Payments 32% 55%
Median Student Loan Debt $18,750 $20,000
Median Loan Payment $193 $206
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Comparable Facts

  • Grand Canyon University is larger than than NAU based on total student enrollment (90,253 students vs. 31,066 students)

GCU vs. NAU Cost Comparison

Which college is more expensive, GCU or NAU?

  • Grand Canyon University is 54.9% more expensive to attend than NAU for in-state tuition ($16,500.00 vs. $10,650.00)
  • Out of state tuition is 53.2% higher at NAU than Grand Canyon University ($25,270.00 vs. $16,500.00)
  • The typical actual cost that students pay to attend (average net price) is less at Northern Arizona University than GCU ($14,236 vs. $21,332)
  • Living costs (room and board or off-campus housing budget) at Grand Canyon University are 35.1% lower than costs at Northern Arizona University ($7,800 vs. $10,534)
  • More students receive financial grant aid at Grand Canyon University than Northern Arizona University (99% vs. 93%)
  • The average total grant financial aid received by Northern Arizona University students is 17.3% larger than aid received Grand Canyon University ($11,656 vs. $9,933)

GCU vs. NAU Admissions Difficulty Comparison

Which college is harder to get into, GCU or NAU? Average SAT and ACT scores plus acceptance rates offer good insight into the difficulty of admission between NAU or GCU .

  • NAU has a higher acceptance rate (84.9%) than GCU (76.9%)

GCU vs. NAU Graduation Outcomes Comparison

Which is better, GCU or NAU? Graduation rate, salary and amount of student loan debt are indicators of a college which offers better outcomes for its graduates. Compare the following outcomes facts between NAU and GCU.

  • The graduation rate at NAU is higher that Grand Canyon University (52% vs. 31%)
  • Graduates from Grand Canyon University earn on average $10,400 more per year than NAU graduates after ten years. ($54,300 vs. $43,900)
  • Grand Canyon University students graduate with a $1,250 lower median federal student loan debt than NAU graduates. ($18,750 vs. $20,000)
  • GCU graduates are paying $13 less per month on federal student loans than NAU graduates. ($193 vs. $206)
  • More NAU graduates are actively paying back their federal student loan debt than former GCU students, three years after graduation. (55% vs. 32%)

Sources: U.S. Department of Education https://nces.ed.gov IPEDS and College Scorecard https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/