The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) has imposed a $37.7 million fine on Grand Canyon University (GCU) for deceiving over 7,500 current and former students regarding the cost of its doctoral programs.
The FSA’s investigation found that GCU falsely advertised a lower cost for these programs than what the majority of students ended up paying, violating federal regulations and the Higher Education Act. The misrepresentations date back to 2017, with GCU advertising program costs between $40,000 and $49,000 when, based on their data, less than 2% of graduates completed within the advertised cost. Furthermore, 78% of graduates had to pay an additional $10,000 to $12,000 more in tuition costs than what was explicitly advertised.
GCU has 20 days to request a hearing or provide written material indicating why the fine should not be imposed, and the Department has also placed specific conditions on the school to continue participating in federal student aid programs.