Grand Canyon University Ph.d. in Psychology (Me again)

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by PuppyMama, Nov 2, 2014.

  1. PuppyMama

    PuppyMama New Member


    It has been several months since I have posted to this forum. After conversing with a few of you here, I have decided to go through with applying for GCU's Ph.D. in psychology. I guess I'm just looking for a little reassurance before I turn in that last piece of information that will earn me an "acceptance" into the program (though I believe this is the type of program that accepts anyone who checks the boxes).

    My hesitation is that this is a for-profit university. Both my BA and MA were earned at public B&M schools. Given, I believe GCU is a few steps above some of the diploma mill-type schools out there, I am still a little worried about it hurting my resume. I am sorry if I sound like a snob. I really am sorry - but let's be honest... we've all heard the horror stories about how some people have spent tens of thousands of dollars on degrees that have actually weeded them out of the career pool due to the name of the schools attached to the credentials.

    My purposes for earning a Ph.D. are 1)Personal enrichment and 2)Like everyone else around here, I want to teach and conduct research on the side. I'm starting my family and am not looking for a tenure-type position, however, I'd love to be a lecturer or even adjunct at a decent school some day. Is this going to be possible with a name like GCU behind me?

    I spoke to the director of a program at Arizona State about GCU. She's a nice lady - her response to me though was, "I don't know too much about the school since they became a for-profit institution." I am not sure if that was a nice way of saying, "Their name is not going to help you but I am not the type of person to say anything rude about another school" or if she sincerely means that she does not know... however, she DID tell me specifically that a "school like the University of Phoenix would NOT earn me a teaching position at any major university"... and really, I already knew that but I do not know if GCU is a "UoP type of school." There just isn't a whole lot of information about it out there.

    Any input/moral support would be nice. I am sorry if I am coming across as being snobbish. I promise I am not that type of person, I just want to make sure my investment will yield me something valuable and other than this website, my casual internet searches/asking around have not turned up anything too informative about this school/program.

    Thanks, friends!
  2. PuppyMama

    PuppyMama New Member

    P.S. I am not sure why I spelled canyon with an 'E' in the subject line. Sorry about the typo!
  3. Graves

    Graves Member

    I definitely want to hear about your experiences. I've considered attending Grand Canyon to later clinically respecialize if I stay in my current career through retirement. Best of luck!
  4. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Grand Canyon was a non-profit throughout most of its history. However, the school was facing financial collapse about 10 years ago; it then switched to for-profit status, raised a lot of cash via the stock market, and was able to restore its financial position.

    Last week, the President of Grand Canyon acknowledged that there is a "negative stigma" associated with for-profit schools, and announced that the school was exploring a return to non-profit status. However, it's not clear whether this is feasible. GCU would have to buy all of its stock back, and this would cost over $2 billion (at current valuation). There are no guarantees that it will happen. More info at this previous degreeinfo thread.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 2, 2014
  5. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    GCU may be kind of a touchy subject at Arizona State. The President of ASU, Michael Crow, has been outspoken about his opposition to for-profit schools in NCAA Division I, and has explicitly banned ASU teams in all sports from playing GCU:

    ASU's policy has since been adopted by the entire Pac-12 Conference. including the University of Arizona.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 2, 2014
  6. PuppyMama

    PuppyMama New Member


    It is so interesting that you bring up Michael Crow's comments. I earned my BA from ASU - I had a good experience there but not everyone loves Mr. Crow...

    i am personally not a fan of the for-profits (hence my GCU hesitation) but ASU is the closest thing to a for-profit that I have ever experienced. My BA was more expensive than my MA (from another school) and my GCU Ph.D. will even cost less than my ASU BA. Michael Crow makes in the $700,000.00 - $1,000,000.00 range per year and has been chastised for giving his wife (also an ASU employee) substantial raises. The students see tuition raises seemingly yearly as this man - this PUBLIC employee, gets richer and richer. Given, he isn't making University of Phoenix CEO type of money, but he's doing awfully well for a public servant earning his living from government money and off the backs of students who will be in debt for decades, if you ask me. It's just interesting to me that a man of such moral character is pointing his finger at someone else in the money-making business. He is, after all, a business major himself. It is also worth noting that from what I understand, ASU online is run VERY similarly to a for-profit enterprise. It did not exist when I was Sun Devil, but it sure does now and I hear there isn't a whole lot of student satisfaction. Of course the traditional campus is a separate entity and is still supposedly fantastic...

    Anyway, it is interesting that GCU is trying to regain their non-profit status. I am glad that the president cares about the reputation of the school enough to entertain the idea. I guess we'll see how it all goes.

    I appreciate everyone's feedback! I'd love to hear more if anyone else has something to say!
  7. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Of course they do. In recent years, Arizona has dramatically cut funding for public higher education. On a per-student basis, state funding has dropped by more 48% since 2008, which is more than any other state in the country. And the result is that Arizona public universities have had the highest rates of tuition increase in the country. What do you expect?

    When the state cuts funding to public universities, as Arizona has done, there are two other ways to bring in revenue. One way is to raise tuition. The other way is to raise charitable donations. Like it or not, charitable fundraising is now one of the top responsibilities of a university president -- at some schools, in fact, it is the #1 priority.

    And ASU seems to be doing pretty well in this department. For 2012-13 alone, ASU pulled in an impressive $136 million in donations. That's money that does not come from tuition, and does not come from taxpayers.

    And that's $136 million that President Crow can take credit for. Now, I can't say if he is really personally responsible for all of that amount. Probably not. But even if he is personally responsible for only 1% of that total (which would be $1,360,000), then he earned all of his salary, plus his wife's salary, plus whatever other perks he gets as ASU president.

    You repeatedly refer to Crow as a "public employee" and a "public servant". But realistically, his job performance depends largely on the amount of private money that he can bring in to ASU.

    Come on -- he isn't even making Grand Canyon University type of money. The President of GCU got $3.2 million last year, plus another $4.4 in stock options. He's making five to ten times what Crow makes, for running a smaller school with a much lower reputation. Maybe that's why Crow doesn't like GCU.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2014
  8. PuppyMama

    PuppyMama New Member

    Yep, I'm painfully aware of the education cuts in Arizona, unfortunately. Sorry, it sounds like I might have hit a Michael Crow nerve - I didn't mean to. I still see him as the president of a public university who turns a deaf ear to students pleading for tuition stability. I question where all of that fundraising money is going, then? Is it the sports teams? The computer labs full of Apple products? The fancy new dorms they're building? Because, and I'll admit, I don't have the information in front of me, but it doesn't seem to be going toward filling the tuition gap where the government has pulled funds. I have family members who have been laid off from the school due to "budget cuts" while Michael's salary increases... maybe I just take it more personally for those reasons. Who knows?

    In any event, it was never my intention to discuss the dealings of Michael Crow... I just wanted more information about Grand Canyon. That's all.
  9. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    As noted above, the Crow administration raised $136 million in donations last year. That sounds like a lot, and it is pretty good by national standards. But if state funding to ASU has dropped even more, than donations aren't going to fill the gap, and tuition will go up regardless.

    I can see why Crow's style might rub some people the wrong way. In a perfect world, university presidents would be selected on the basis of their scholarship and administrative ability, rather than by their ability to raise money. But the Arizona university funding situation is far from perfect -- the state has cut back so aggressively that fundraising has to be a top priority. The bottom line is this: without Crow's fundraising ability, would ASU's tuition be even higher? I think the answer is probably "yes".

    Incidentally, I can tell you that another part of Crow's strategy is to market ASU aggressively to high school students in California. Why? Because they pay higher out-of-state tuition rates. And U of A does the same thing.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2014
  10. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    duplicate post, delete
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2014
  11. PuppyMama

    PuppyMama New Member

    I noticed that there were always quite a few students from California on campus at ASU. That would make sense. I mean, Crow is who he is and from the business perspective, he's obviously doing well for the school given the economic climate. I guess I'm more of a people person than a business person so my opinion is bound to oppose that which is best for a business.

    CalDog, you seem to know quite a bit about Arizona. Do you have any specific opinions of Grand Canyon University, good or bad?
  12. flannelberry

    flannelberry New Member

    I know this is an old thread and I thought I would wade in as someone who is hiring clinical staff. When someone applies for a clinician (or other) position and they have a degree I'm not familiar with, I definitely do some research. Applicants who have a degree from a for-profit institutions have to have one from an institution with a really good rep in places like this one for us to even consider short listing you; especially if the degree is the one you're leveraging for the position. Institutions like Yorkville immediately put you in the "nope" pile.
  13. ravenclawed

    ravenclawed New Member


    My best friend is pursuing a PhD in I/O Psychology at GCU. She loves the program and has leveraged it into an internship with one of the largest banks in the world in their training and development line of business. So with all the blemishes that for profit status can bring. GCU is doing well. If licensure are a Psychologist is your ultimate goal, GCU might not be a great option. If I/O Psychology is your focus then the GCU program is solid and should be one to consider. It isn't easy, she has been working hard for quite a while and you have to make it what you want to be (that is with any doctoral studies programs). Network, join associations, and look for opportunities. If you want to send me a private message I would be more than happy to talk to you about the program. My friend is hoping the transition to not for profit happens, just to cool the irons, but even with it's for profit status GCU has helped her make a HUGE transition from retail to HR/Organizational Development.

    DIsclosure, I have no dog in this fight. I have never attended GCU or any for profit school.
  14. Afterhours

    Afterhours Member

    Old thread but here are my thoughts. GCU is not the worst out there. But you should know that it is for profit. It's also Christian.

    The OP attended two non for profit universities. Why not continue that?

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