Last Updated on November 1, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes
Title: Grand Canyon University Fined $37.7 Million for Misrepresenting Costs of Doctoral Programs
In a recent development, the U.S. Education Department has imposed a hefty fine of $37.7 million on Grand Canyon University for allegedly misleading students about the costs associated with its doctoral programs. The university, the largest for-profit college in the country, was found guilty of misrepresenting tuition fees and credit hour requirements.
According to the department’s findings, the university misled students by stating that enrollment in the doctoral program would cost between $40,000 and $49,000, covering both tuition fees and 60 credit hours. However, a staggering 98% of doctoral students required more than the initially promised 60 credit hours to graduate, resulting in additional expenses ranging from $10,000 to $12,000 or even higher.
“Almost no students are able to complete their doctoral program within the represented number of credits,” states the Education Department, highlighting the university’s deceptive practices. Consequently, many students were left unable to obtain federal financial aid to cover the unexpected costs incurred due to the additional courses.
The fine was communicated through a letter addressed to Grand Canyon University President Brian Mueller, dated Tuesday. This penalty is seen as a major blow to the institution, which boasts an enrollment of over 100,000 primarily online students.
Notably, Grand Canyon University received more than $1.1 billion in federal funding for its bachelor’s degree programs under Title VI of the Higher Education Act. However, the Education Department decided to impose a fine of $5,000 per student enrolled in the doctoral programs during the period from November 1, 2018, to October 19, 2023. This resulted in a total penalty of $37.7 million for the institution.
The department strongly criticized the university for its failure to provide transparent and accurate information. Specifically, they pointed out that the disclosures related to credit hour requirements and associated costs were either incomplete or buried within lengthy documents and fine print. This lack of clarity prevented students from fully understanding the financial commitment they were undertaking.
The ramifications of this fine are expected to have a lasting impact on Grand Canyon University, both financially and reputationally. As the news spreads among the higher education community, it remains to be seen how the university will address these concerns and regain the trust of its current and prospective students.
In conclusion, the U.S. Education Department has imposed a substantial fine of $37.7 million on Grand Canyon University for misrepresenting the costs of its doctoral programs. This penalty serves as a reminder to all educational institutions regarding the importance of providing accurate and transparent information to students regarding program costs and requirements.