The Department of Education says GCU, located in Phoenix, misled students about expenses. Mueller says that's not true. "We are over-and-above truthful with students," he tells AFN. "It is part of the reason we have 118,000 students."
The university president explains the school has options when it comes to the appeal. One is to an internal group committee. If that doesn't go the way GCU wants, then GCU will appeal to the secretary of education. If that doesn't go the way GCU wants, the university will file a lawsuit.
"We have a group of people in Washington, DC, that is completely out of control," says Mueller. "Not only should we not have been fined a single dollar, but we should be held out as an institution that has taken the leadership role in terms of being open and transparent, providing students with all necessary information about the costs and time to complete their programs."
It is unclear as to how long the appeal process may take, but Mueller says GCU is committed to the effort as well as GCU's endeavors to improve on recent successes.
"The number of visits to our campus from high school seniors who are prospective students is up 30% over last year, which was a record-setting year; and the number of students who are adults who are interested in our online programs … is at an all-time high," says Mueller. "So, there has never been a greater interest in what we are doing here than there is right now."
He adds: "This place has kind of captivated the country in a very unusual way – to the dismay of the Department of Education."