The U.S. Department of Education recently imposed a staggering $37.7 million fine on Grand Canyon University (GCU), marking the largest penalty in the department’s history. The fine, amounting to 10 times more than penalties levied against institutions involved in concealing heinous crimes, has ignited controversy and allegations of ideological targeting by the Biden administration.
GCU, a Phoenix-based institution characterized by its motto “private, Christian, and affordable,” has undergone remarkable growth, expanding from a modest establishment with under 1,000 students to becoming one of the nation’s largest private schools, offering a diverse array of degrees across disciplines without a tuition hike in over 15 years.
However, the recent fine from the Department of Education has raised questions about the motives behind such punitive measures. Critics argue that the administration, under the leadership of Richard Cordray, appears to be targeting institutions that do not conform to prevailing ideological norms prevalent in government-run educational systems.
The fine imposed on GCU far surpasses previous penalties issued for severe offenses, such as the cover-up of crimes by notorious sex offenders. The department alleges GCU violated federal disclosure laws by purportedly failing to adequately inform Ph.D. students about potential additional coursework requirements while completing their doctoral dissertations. This accusation has drawn skepticism, with critics labeling it as pretextual and lacking substantial evidence, particularly as no student complaints have been cited.
Biden just imposed the largest fine ever on a Christian college
By Jon Riches , Matt Beienburg Fox News
“Grand Canyon University targeted by woke Biden admin for an unprecedented $37.7 million fine”
“In its latest assault on institutions that fail to adhere to its ideological… pic.twitter.com/fAux4FRROh
— Moderat_Conserv, Blue cities are Sad cities (@Moderat_Conserv) December 11, 2023
Amidst claims of governmental overreach and undue punishment, voices from institutions like the Goldwater Institute have called for transparency, demanding records related to the department’s actions against GCU. They have indicated potential legal action to compel disclosure if the agency fails to provide clarity.
GCU’s supporters emphasize the institution’s innovative approaches to education, addressing critical issues such as the nursing shortage and facilitating pathways to high-demand trade jobs. Additionally, they highlight GCU’s role in community development, its thriving campus life, and its commitment to graduating students with lower debt burdens compared to national averages.
Criticism has emerged regarding the administration’s focus, with some suggesting a prioritization of ideological conformity over fostering successful educational outcomes. While GCU continues to contest the unprecedented fine, the controversy underscores a broader debate concerning the government’s role in higher education.