In a press release, the ED said it had “determined that as far back as 2017, GCU was not fully informing students about the cost of its doctoral programs.” “GCU stated that those doctoral programs cost between $40,000 and $49,000. GCU made these false claims about the cost on the school’s website and net price calculators, as well as in its enrollment agreements, catalogs, policy handbooks, and other marketing materials,” the release stated. “These false claims violate the Higher Education Act and federal regulations prohibiting substantial misrepresentations.” “GCU’s statements about the total cost to complete these programs were false and misleading because, based on GCU’s own data, less than 2% of graduates completed within the cost that GCU advertised,” the release continues. tuition costs — roughly a 25% increase, depending on the program — than GCU explicitly advertised.” Earlier this month, GCU published a statement refuting the claims and declared the investigation a “retaliation for the university filing an ongoing lawsuit against [the Department of Education] regarding its nonprofit status.” “After these comprehensive reviews, the only ‘findings’ these agencies have shared with us are seemingly minor in nature yet they attach labels such as ‘substantial misrepresentations’ or ‘deceptive and misleading’ in an effort to taint the university as a bad actor when all available evidence is to the contrary,” the university argued. “First, GCU categorically denies these unsubstantiated allegations and will take all measures necessary to refute them. Second, GCU does not mislead or deceive students,” they continued. “In fact, the opposite is true as it relates to the levels of transparency and service levels provided by the university.” As well as claiming that the ED deliberately targeted them for punishment, the university also claims that they have “created an innovative and nontraditional model to successfully address the challenges facing higher education.” The university has yet to comment on the fine that has been imposed.
JUST IN: The U.S. Education Department is handing GCU the largest fine ever levied amid accusations the school lied to thousands of students about the cost of its graduate programs. #abc15 https://t.co/MVYCVuOMqp— ABC15 Arizona (@abc15) October 31, 2023
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.