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October 30, 2014

Commercial Ariz. College Considers Switch to Nonprofit

Citing prospective tax benefits and the increasingly negative image of for-profit colleges, Grand Canyon University in Arizona is weighing whether to return to its former nonprofit status, The Arizona Republic and The Wall Street Journal report. The Phoenix-based Christian school, which enrolls some 68,000 mostly online students but has a growing physical campus, was purchased by investors in 2004 after falling into financial straits and became a publicly traded firm four years later.

Grand Canyon has seen rising enrollment and income, but President Brian Mueller said it is at a considerable disadvantage competing against state and private institutions that do not pay taxes and can get tax-deductible gifts. The for-profit college sector has also come under federal scrutiny over its loan and debt-collection practices. "The stigma surrounding the for-profit industry—some of which is deserved and some not—is real and it is not improving," Mr. Mueller said in a statement.