After nearly two years and one turndown in 2016, Grand Canyon University is one step closer to becoming a nonprofit, the school said Tuesday.
The Higher Learning Commission granted the request, which will eventually fracture the university from its owner and for-profit parent company Grand Canyon University Education.
“HLC approval is the major step in this process,” university President Brian Mueller said in a statement. “We’re now working toward finishing up the final details that will allow us to complete the transition by the end of the second quarter of 2018.”
The private university located at 35th Avenue and Camelback Road was originally founded as a nonprofit in 1949. However, in 2004, it switched to a for-profit model in order to pay off $20 million in debt. Now, the school plans to spend $850 million on specific academic-related assets from the parent company.
After the purchase, a spokesman said, the parent company would remain as a “third-party provider of educational and related services to GCU and potentially, in the future, to other universities,” a model implemented by other universities.
According to the Phoenix Business Journal, the move still requires approval from the U.S. Department of Education and the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education.