Now Reading
Grand Canyon University Faces $37 Million Fine For Misleading Students About Tuition Cost

Grand Canyon University Faces $37 Million Fine For Misleading Students About Tuition Cost

Grand Canyon University, one of the largest Christian universities in the nation, is currently under fire as the United States government has imposed a record $37.7 million fine for allegedly misleading students about the cost of its graduate programs.

The fine, the largest of its kind ever issued by the U.S. Education Department, comes after an investigation that found the university had deceived more than 7,500 current and former students regarding the cost of its doctoral programs. The Education Department revealed that while Grand Canyon University claimed its doctoral programs would cost between $40,000 and $49,000, less than two percent of graduates completed their programs within this range. Most students paid an additional $10,000 to $12,000, often due to “continuation courses” needed for dissertation requirements.

“Today, we are holding GCU accountable for its actions, protecting students and taxpayers, and upholding the integrity of the federal student aid programs,” said Richard Cordray, chief operating officer for Federal Student Aid, an office in the Education Department.

The university, which enrolls about 20,000 students on its Phoenix campus and roughly 80,000 in online programs, denied the allegations, referring to them as “lies and deceptive statements” in a five-page statement.

“Grand Canyon University categorically denies every accusation in the Department of Education’s statement and will take all measures necessary to defend itself from these false accusations,” the school wrote.

Grand Canyon University also pointed to its court-upheld cost disclosures during a separate lawsuit and approval by its accreditor. The university alleges that the fine is part of a “disturbing pattern” by the Education Department and accuses the agency of an “agenda-driven motivation to bring harm to the university.”

This development comes amid a broader push by the Biden administration for accountability among U.S. universities. The Education Department recently finalized a new regulation that could cut federal funding to for-profit college programs that leave graduates unable to repay loans. It also plans to provide more information about outcomes from all colleges to students and families.

GCU has 20 days to appeal the fine. Additionally, new conditions have been imposed on the school to continue receiving federal funding. The university is barred from making “substantial misrepresentations” about the cost of doctoral programs and must report any other investigations or lawsuits. Furthermore, it is required to send a notice to current doctoral students informing them how to submit a complaint to the Education Department.

© 2023 RELEVANT Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Scroll To Top

You’re reading our ad-supported experience

For our premium ad-free experience, including exclusive podcasts, issues and more, subscribe to

Plans start as low as $2.50/mo