After a thorough investigation by the office of Federal Student Aid (FSA), the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has imposed a $37.7 million fine on Grand Canyon University (GCU) for allegedly misleading students about the cost of its doctoral programs. The DOE found that GCU “lied” to over 7,500 former and current students by falsely advertising a lower cost for its doctoral programs, with 98% of students ultimately paying more than the advertised amount.
In response to the fine, GCU has announced its plans to appeal, emphasizing that the DOE’s accusations are not backed by the federal court system or regulatory agencies such as the Higher Learning Commission. The university points to previous court rulings in its favor, such as the case of Young v. GCU, where the courts rejected claims of misrepresentation by GCU regarding program costs.
GCU’s president, Brian Mueller, has expressed his belief that the university is being unjustly targeted by federal agencies. He argues that GCU goes above and beyond what is legally required to provide transparency to its students. Mueller asserts that the DOE’s actions demonstrate a lack of fairness and objectivity in their operations, highlighting the need for checks and balances to prevent such overreach in the future.
Furthermore, GCU asserts that it has been a leader in providing transparency within higher education, surpassing requirements and actively taking steps to benefit its students. The university claims its nonprofit model has allowed for low tuition rates, low student loan default rates, low student debt levels, and a diverse student body.
As GCU prepares to appeal the fine, the larger issue at stake is the potential impact of these actions by the DOE on the autonomy and transparency of higher education institutions. The outcome of this case could have significant implications for the relationship between universities and federal regulatory bodies.
1. What is GCU accused of?
GCU is accused of misleading students about the cost of its doctoral programs, falsely advertising a lower cost than what students ultimately paid.
2. What is GCU’s response to the fine?
GCU plans to appeal the fine, arguing that the accusations made by the DOE are not supported by the federal court system or regulatory agencies.
3. How does GCU claim to prioritize transparency?
GCU asserts that it goes above and beyond legal requirements to provide transparency to its students, offering more cost information than what is mandated by the DOE.
4. What are the potential implications of this case?
The outcome of this case could have significant implications for the relationship between universities and federal regulatory bodies, particularly in terms of autonomy and transparency in higher education institutions.