Stakeholder message from President Mueller

You may be aware that the U.S. Department of Education has decided to impose a record fine of $37.7 million against Grand Canyon University for what it labels “substantial misrepresentations” related to our disclosures of the cost to complete a doctoral degree. We categorically deny every accusation from the Department of Education and will take all measures necessary to defend ourselves from these false accusations.

This statement we released on October 31 captures:

  • The complete lack of merit in the Department’s accusations when looking at the numerous places GCU provides such disclosures, including the most prominent place (our Degree Program Calculator) that clearly spells out these costs.
  • The fact that federal courts have already ruled in GCU’s favor on a similar matter in Young v GCU, rejecting the claim that GCU’s disclosures misrepresented the time or cost it would take a student to complete a doctoral program.
  • The findings of other regulatory bodies including the Higher Learning Commission which stated the exact opposite of what the Department is claiming.
  • And the absurdity of the fine amount compared to previous fines the Department has issued to nonprofit institutions that committed fraud or withheld information about sexual assaults. We maintain that a fine of any amount vs. GCU is completely unwarranted and that this dispute could have easily been resolved in a 10-minute phone call had the Department been open to working in a cooperative manner (the Department also rejected GCU’s proposal to have the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service provide mediation on this matter).

I also want to bring to your attention two published articles in the media that capture the heart of GCU’s situation. The first, which appeared in the Daily Signal, is written by Adam Kissel, a former deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Education who is now a visiting fellow in the Center for Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation. He more than anyone understands how the Department, in his words, is “overreaching and regulating beyond the limits of the (Higher Education Act) statute” and that “these federal actions are intended to punish Grand Canyon University for daring to stand up for itself.”

The second article is an op-ed published by the Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal. The article is behind a paywall at WSJ. If you are not a subscriber, it can also be viewed on

It is clear that we are being unjustly targeted by the Department and other federal agencies in a coordinated and agenda-driven manner, and it is alarming that individuals within these agencies have unfettered discretion within the federal government to use their positions to attack institutions with whom they are ideologically opposed.

For further information on this, please visit


Brian Mueller

President, Grand Canyon University

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