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Grand Canyon University's accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, approved the for-profit institution's application to convert to a nonprofit entity. 

"We appreciate the Higher Learning Commission's due diligence in thoroughly examining our proposal," said Brian Mueller, president of Grand Canyon, in a news release. "This is consistent with GCU's history and puts us on a level playing field with other traditional universities with regard to tax status and among other things the ability to accept philanthropic contributions, pursue research grant opportunities and participate in NCAA governance." 

The conversion means the company will sell the university and its academic-related assets to a nonprofit entity. The company, Grand Canyon Education, will continue as a for-profit entity that operates as a third-party provider of services like recruiting, counseling and human resources to the new nonprofit university.

Grand Canyon announced in January it would attempt to change its tax status after failing to make the conversion in a similar bid a few years ago. 

The deal still needs approval from the Education Department and the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education.