The federal government has penalized Grand Canyon University, the largest Christian university in the United States, $37.7 million for falsely advertising the price of its graduate programs to prospective students.
The university has over 100,000 students and is subject to the largest fine ever levied by the United States Department of Education.
According to the findings of the Department of Education’s inquiry, Grand Canyon University misled over 7,500 current and past students about the actual cost of its doctoral programs.
Students were informed as far back as 2017 that the price of a Ph.D. degree at the institution would be between $40,000 and $49,000. The research team revealed that only 2% of graduates completed their studies within the range without spending an extra $10-$12,000. The “continuation courses” required to meet the dissertation requirements often accounted for the additional expense.
The penalty is part of a larger effort by the Biden administration to increase transparency at American universities. In addition to providing greater information about the results from all universities, the Department of Education recently established a new policy that could restrict government support to for-profit college programs that leave graduates unable to repay loans. There will be a 20-day appeal period for Grand Canyon’s fine. New requirements have been added by the department for the institution to meet before obtaining federal funding.
A notification explaining how existing doctorate students can file a complaint with the Education Department will be sent to the school’s mailing address, and the school will be prohibited from making “serious misrepresentations” about the cost of doctoral programs.
Grand Canyon University has awarded more federal student aid over the past four years than any other U.S. university.
The university has over 100,000 students, most enrolled in online programs.
The University has said that “they are not paying a dime.”