Letter from Canyon Christian Schools Consortium Participant Schools


Phoenix, AZ – December 18, 2023

Members of the Christian education community stand in support of Grand Canyon University (GCU) during the recent challenges it has faced from the U.S. Department of Education. We are voicing our profound concern about the unjust nature of the investigation and firmly believe that GCU is making invaluable contributions to the State of Arizona and the country as a whole.

GCU has numerous partnerships with K12 Christian schools across the nation with goals to reduce the overall cost of private Christian education, increase enrollment for faith-based high schools and encourage Christian high school students to pursue higher education. Given those goals, the Department’s decision to fine the largest Christian university in the country is of great concern to us.

GCU plays a vital role in addressing dire workforce needs, especially in areas where there are significant shortages, such as educators. There are currently 27,000 students enrolled in GCU’s College of Education. Those students will go on to become teachers and administrators all over the country. 5,620 of those are current paraprofessionals who are now working toward becoming fully licensed teachers thanks to GCU’s many school district partnerships. The teacher shortage is an ongoing crisis in this country, so to punish one of the largest producers of teachers is unsettling.  

GCU provides opportunities for higher learning that are both accessible and diverse. Its commitment to affordability is evident in the 15-year tuition freeze on its Phoenix campus, which has significantly contributed to low student debt levels and loan default rates, creating opportunities for thousands of students who might not have considered college otherwise.

GCU is also doing significant work in the community including GCU CityServe which has distributed $10.6 million worth of household goods to 30,000+ Arizona families in need, an 11-year, $2.2 million partnership with the City of Phoenix to increase safety and eliminate crime in the neighborhood, a partnership with Habitat for Humanity that has renovated 506 homes in its neighborhood, providing free tutoring to K-12 students and awarding 710 full-tuition scholarships to students from inner-city high schools in the Phoenix area since 2015.

GCU has a long history of operating as a nonprofit institution. The University made a strategic move in 2004 to involve investors to keep the institution afloat. It reverted to its historic nonprofit status in 2018, a status that is recognized by the IRS and all of the university’s regulatory bodies — except for the Department of Education.

GCU's commitment to provide affordable, quality education to all socioeconomic classes makes fines or penalties seem overly punitive amid broader higher education challenges. We urge the Department of Education to work cooperatively with GCU to resolve these disputes and recognize its lawful status as a nonprofit entity, which aligns with the decisions made by every other regulatory body. By doing so, we can collectively ensure the continued success of this invaluable institution, benefiting the University community, the State of Arizona and the entire country.


Christian Education Community

John Matusak, Vice Principal, Archbishop Murphy High School (Everett, WA)

Kevin P. Kiefer, Principal, Bishop Gorman Catholic High School (Las Vegas, NV)

Janice Beyer, Superintendent, Bradshaw Christian School (Sacramento, CA)

Frank Ostanik, Director of Schools, Catholic Schools of Fairbanks (Fairbanks, AK)

Blair Bryant, Superintendent, Cedar Park Christian Schools (Bothell, WA)

Elisa Carlson, Head of School, Central Christian School (Redmond, OR)

Dr. D. Merle Skinner, Executive Director, Champion Christian School (Champion, PA)

Melissa G. Barrett, Head of School, Chapelgate Christian Academy (Marriottsville, MD)

Bob Ruhlman, Superintendent of Schools, Christian Unified Schools (El Cajon, CA)

Allen Howlett, Superintendent, Cole Valley Christian Schools (Boise, ID)

Rebecca West, School Counselor, Concordia Lutheran School of Omaha (Omaha, NE)

Craig Miller, Head of School, Cortland Christian Academy (Cortland, NY)

Pastor Jeff Wilson, Principal, Country Christian School (Redding, CA)

Stephen Eggold, Head of School, Dallas Lutheran School (Dallas, TX)

Rhonda White, Administrator, Eagle Point Christian Academy (Sapulpa, OK)

Lisa Cross, Principal, Excel Christian School (Sparks, NV)

Dr. Steven J. Buuck, CEO, Faith Lutheran Middle School & High School (Las Vegas, NV)

John Chilman, High School Head Counselor, Faith Lutheran Middle School & High School (Las Vegas, NV)

Matt Zimmerman, Head of School, Flint Hills Christian School (Manhattan, KS)

Jim Desmarchais, Superintendent, Gilbert Christian Schools (Gilbert, AZ)

Talbott Behnken, Principal, Gilbert Christian Schools (Gilbert, AZ)

Wendy Salima, Guidance Counselor, Grace Christian School (Anchorage, AK)

Dr. Ron White, Superintendent, Greenbrier Christian Academy (Chesapeake, VA)

Steve Lindahl, Guidance Director, Heritage Christian School (Indianapolis, IN)

Tami Crabtree, Guidance Counselor, Heritage Christian School (Indianapolis, IN)

Dan Vande Pol, Head of Schools, Hillcrest Christian (Thousand Oaks, CA)

Jeff Isaac, Principal, Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (Fergus Falls, MN)

Ryan Wood, Superintendent, Immanuel Schools (Reedley, CA)

Daniel Plunkett, Head of School, Kauai Christian Academy (Kilauea, HI)

Dr. Justin Jordan, Head of School, Lake Country Christian School (Fort Worth, TX)

Melinda Just, Elementary Principal, Legacy Christian School (Noblesville, IN)

Karen Bjur, Principal, Liberty Christian School (Richland, WA)

Deborah Meiners, Academic and College Counselor, Maranatha Christian Academy (Brooklyn Park, MN)

Tim Ihms, Headmaster, Maricopa Christian Academy (Maricopa, AZ)

R. Lee Saunders, Principal, Midwestern Christian Academy (​Chicago, IL)

Shyla Wells, Academic Dean, Mountain City Christian Academy (Anchorage, AK)

Greg Wiles, Superintendent, Nampa Christian Schools (Nampa, ID)

Amanda Duerre, Counselor, Nampa Christian Schools (Nampa, ID)

Carey House, Registrar/Academic Advisor, Northwest Christian Schools (Colbert, WA)

Jennifer Dugas Bitting, Administrator, North County Christian School (Bonsall, CA)

Gilpatrick Peyton, Principal, Northwest Hills Christian School (San Antonio, TX)

Mark Bates, Principal, Oroville Christian School (Oroville, CA)

Tracey Juga, Guidance Counselor, Racine Lutheran High School (Racine, WI)

Kay Sullivan, President, Salpointe Catholic High School (Tucson, AZ)

Dr. Brent M. Hodges, Superintendent, Scottsdale Christian Academy (Scottsdale, AZ)

Todd Benson, Superintendent, Shiloh Christian School (Bismarck, ND)

Jeremiah K. Auble, Superintendent, Springfield Christian School (Springfield, IL)

Jeff Mudrow, Head of School, Stockdale Christian School (Bakersfield, CA)

Eric Baxter, Academic and College Counselor, St. Mary's High School (Colorado Springs, CO)

Chris Hahn, Head of School, Summit Christian Academy (Lee's Summit, MO)

Joe Hesman, Secondary Principal Director of Operations, Summit Christian Academy (Lee's Summit, MO)

Matt Davidson, Superintendent, Timothy Christian Schools (Elmhurst, IL)

Pastor Mike Gregory, Head of School, Tower Grove Christian Academy (St. Louis, MO)

George Muntean, Principal, Trinity Christian School (Sacramento, CA)

Anna Daniel, Secondary Vice Principal, Trinity Christian School (Sacramento, CA)

Tim Kuhns, K-8 Principal, Trinity Academy (Wichita, KS)

Curt Greer, Elementary Principal, Tri-City Christian School (Vista, CA)

Dr. Chris Crowe, Principal, Valley Christian Academy (Roseville, CA)

Isaac Lewis, Accommodations Counselor, Valley Christian Schools (San Jose, CA)

Ben Russel, School Administrator, Verde Christian Academy (Cottonwood, AZ)

Dr. Justin M. Hartman, Director of Learning, Verde Christian Academy (Cottonwood, AZ)

Scott R. Dufresne, Executive Director, Victory Christian Academy (Chula Vista, CA)

Tom Konjoyan, Head of School, Village Christian School (Los Angeles, CA)

Rob Arthurs, Principal, 91st Psalm Christian School (Phoenix, AZ)

Claire Troth, School Business Administrator, 91st Psalm Christian School (Phoenix, AZ)

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