Targeted school finds support in all directions

Targeted school finds support in all directions

Targeted school finds support in all directions

Though House Republicans are the ones calling for an investigation into the Department of Education's treatment of GCU, the private Christian university is also enjoying support from a number of Democrats.

Since the Department of Education announced a record $37.7 million fine against Grand Canyon University (GCU) for "deceiving thousands of students" about tuition costs, university President Brian Mueller says the state of Arizona has been "behind us, and it's across the political aisle."

"These were Republicans that asked the OIG to look into it, but we've also had support from the Democrats," he reports.

Mueller, Brian (GCU) Mueller

"Kyrsten Sinema has been a supporter. The mayor of Phoenix, who is Democrat, has been a big supporter. We've had a meeting with the governor of Arizona, who happens to be a Democrat," Mueller lists. "The fact that Congressman [Andy] Biggs and others wrote an official letter requesting it officially be looked into by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) just reinforces all the support that we're getting across the aisle in Arizona."

AFN reported last month that at an April 10 meeting of the House Appropriations Committee, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona was asked by Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) how the Biden administration is working to shut down GCU, a school that DeLauro called "predatory" and "for-profit."

Cardona assured her that the administration is "cracking down not only to shut them down, but to send a message to not prey on students."

Mueller maintains that the university is not deceiving students, and he points out that it is not a for-profit school; it began as a non-profit and switched to for-profit status for a period of time before going back to non-profit status six years ago.

He thinks this situation makes the argument that the states should have control over education, because they are the ones that are closest to both the K-12 and the higher education worlds.

Meanwhile, conservative groups have been sounding the alarm on what they believe is federal government targeting Christian colleges.

The Goldwater Institute, for example, sued the Department of Education in February for "refusing to turn over public records" related to its $37.7 million fine against GCU." They claimed that the records specifically may inform the public about coordination between various federal agencies in what appears to be the "intentional targeting of a successful university based on extraordinarily thin allegations."

Fox News reports that the OIG has informed Rep. Biggs' office that because of current ongoing litigation, they will not pursue an investigation into the department's actions.

In a letter sent to Reps. Gosar, Lesko, Biggs, and Crane April 16, the OIG explained that it "generally does not conduct audit or investigative work where there is an ongoing and significant proceeding or where such work could potentially interfere with that proceeding."