Title: Grand Canyon University Fined $37.7 Million by U.S. Education Department for Misrepresenting Doctoral Program Costs
In a stunning development, the U.S. Education Department has handed down a hefty fine of $37.7 million to Grand Canyon University, the largest for-profit college in the United States. The department found the university guilty of misrepresenting the costs of its doctoral programs, leaving many students burdened with unexpected financial obligations.
According to the agency’s investigation, Grand Canyon University told prospective students enrolling in the doctoral program that it would cost between $40,000 and $49,000. However, a whopping 98% of students needed more than the promised 60 credit hours to complete their degrees. From 2017 to 2022, a staggering 78% of graduates with doctorates required additional three-credit courses, which cost anywhere from $10,000 to $12,000 or more.
Sadly, many students who found themselves in need of these additional courses were unable to receive federal financial aid to cover the costs. This left them struggling to find alternative solutions to fund their education.
Grand Canyon University, however, has not taken these accusations lightly. The university has until November 20 to request a hearing to contest the fine, vehemently denying the Education Department’s claims, labeling them “lies” and “deceptive.” The university argues that students were fully aware of the potential need for additional courses, and any accusations of misrepresentation are baseless.
While the U.S. Education Department considers Grand Canyon University a for-profit institution subject to fines, the university disputes this classification. Interestingly, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recognizes the university as a non-profit institution for tax purposes, adding another layer of complexity to the ongoing debate.
It is worth noting that Grand Canyon University boasts an enrollment of over 100,000 students, with a majority of them participating in online programs. The university has received significant federal funding, amounting to over $1.1 billion, which places it at the forefront among participating schools for bachelor’s degree programs.
The Education Department’s decision to fine the university $5,000 for each of the 7,547 students enrolled in its doctoral programs from 2018 to 2023 further highlights the severity of the violations. The agency insists that the university’s disclosures about additional courses were either incomplete or intentionally buried in fine print, failing to address other misrepresentations or explain the true costs involved.
As the November 20 deadline approaches, the fate of Grand Canyon University hangs in the balance. Will the university be able to overturn the fine and salvage its reputation, or will it be forced to face the consequences of its alleged deceptive practices?
For now, students, faculty, and the wider community wait anxiously as this saga unfolds, casting a shadow over the future of higher education and the responsibility of institutions to provide transparent and accurate information to their students.
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