As AFN recently reported, the Biden administration is greatly interested in Grand Canyon University's (GCU) tax status. Now, the Department of Education is claiming that the institution misleads students about the costs of its graduate programs.
University President Brian Mueller says that is not true.
"Not only are we not deceptive; we're over and above truthful with students," he insists. "It's part of the reason we have 118,000 students."
The fine is a record $37.7 million, which Mueller says is "absolutely ridiculous."
He does not have any proof or evidence that GCU's operation as a private, Christian university is the reason for the Department's actions, but "it's a little bit ironic," he says, "that the two largest Christian universities in the country are both getting fined almost the same exact amount at the very same time."
Liberty University is also facing a $37.5 million fine for unrelated accusations.
"Is that coincidence? I do not know," Mueller tells AFN.
In GCU's case, it is the culmination of an investigation by the Department that goes back years.
"The people who are doing this work are unelected bureaucrats in the Department of Education, and they do absolutely have a political bias that would stand in opposition to how people perceive us," Mueller responds.
He recognizes that other places would give in and pay the fines, but GCU is "not going to do that" because that $37 million would be better spent in classrooms, laboratories, residence halls, and scholarships.
"We wouldn't pay it if it was a dollar," Mueller adds.
Instead, the university will file an appeal. If it goes through the internal process and does not come out like GCU wants, then it will be appealed directly to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.
"And if that doesn't come out like we want it, then we're going to file a lawsuit," the university president asserts.