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Grand Canyon University accuses government of targeting school

The U.S. Department of Education is unfairly targeting Grand Canyon University, its president says. President Brian Mueller was asked if he believes the federal government’s investigations are religiously motivated.

“Well, they haven’t said it is, and I certainly haven’t said it is,” he told Fox News. “And I hope that it’s not, but the two largest Christian universities in the country (along with Liberty University) are being investigated. And so, is that a coincidence? I don’t know.”

Mueller’s comments came in the midst of the Arizona-based university facing a number of investigations from federal agencies. He argued that the investigations are tied to the Department of Education denying the academic institution’s effort to convert into a nonprofit institution in 2018. The department denied its nonprofit status for purposes of federal student financial aid, which continues to classify the school as a for-profit entity.

The school’s president also questioned the investigations in statements to the local ABC News affiliate. “All of the metrics that would typically say to the department we have a troubled university, we have to look into, our metrics are stellar in all of those areas. So, why these little minor investigations,” stated Mueller.

An official from the Department of Education responded that the department determined under the Trump administration in 2018 that Grand Canyon does not meet the Higher Education Act’s definition of a nonprofit, because the majority of its revenues were allocated to a former owner, a for-profit entity.

Earlier this month, Grand Canyon released a statement that accused several federal agencies of coordinating an effort to unjustly target the university after it filed a complaint in court about failing to obtain nonprofit status.

“Government officials associated with the U.S. Department of Education, Federal Trade Commission and under the authority of the Department of Veterans Affairs are coordinating efforts to unjustly target GCU in what appears to be retaliation for the university filing an ongoing lawsuit against the Education Department regarding its nonprofit status,” the statement said. “While such accusations may sound extraordinary, the facts in this document make clear that this is occurring at an alarming level for government agencies to be taking against the largest Christian university in the country.”

One of the investigations into the university is being conducted into whether the college was using “deceptive” advertising by claiming that “cybersecurity experts are in high demand” and “every company needs cybersecurity.”

“We said that because that’s a fact,” Mueller said.

The FTC also is investigating Grand Canyon’s education services provider, Grand Canyon Education, which provides marketing, recruiting and other support services. The university said the federal agency has requested large amounts of information about whether it makes cold calls to potential students. Grand Canyon denies these allegations and stated it only calls potential students who have shown interest in attending the university.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice


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