Biden Imposes Unprecedented Fine on Christian College

By: Julia Mehalko | Published: Apr 23, 2024

President Joe Biden’s White House administration has imposed an unprecedented fine on Grand Canyon University (GCU), one of the country’s largest Christian colleges.

The Biden administration has charged the private college of misrepresenting university costs, ultimately fining them $37.7 million.

About Grand Canyon University

GCU has long touted that they are one of the largest private Christian colleges in the United States. This university has also claimed that it will continue to offer students affordable tuition — a promise they have mostly kept.

Grand Canyon University Arena seen with people out front and in the evening.

Source: GrandCanyonU/Wikimedia Commons

Even as the school has skyrocketed in enrollments — its student body consists of more than 10,000 students now — the school has tried its best to remain affordable for all.


Biden Administration’s Charges

However, the Biden administration has claimed that GCU actually hasn’t kept tuition down, as they’ve claimed. Instead, the college has lied about what they offer, and what students can expect their tuition to be.

President Joe Biden in a suit and sunglasses speaking in front of a podium.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

As a result of this deceit, the Biden administration and the Department of Education have fined the school $37.7 million.

Allegations Against GCU

The Department of Education has revealed that GCU advertised that doctoral students only had to pay a certain amount of tuition if they enrolled in the university.

The Grand Canyon University Arena seen in the evening in front of green grass.

Source: GrandCanyonU/Wikimedia Commons

However, this advertisement was evidently incorrect, as the government has found that most doctoral students who graduated from GCU between 2017 and 2022 had to pay much more in tuition. For the most part, these students paid about $10,000 to $12,000 more than what GCU initially advertised.

Continuation Courses

According to these charges, GCU didn’t accurately portray how much students would have to pay as doctoral students. After beginning their schooling at GCU, students then found that they would have to pay more money to the school, as they had to enroll in “continuation courses.”

A laptop open in front of a notebook, pen, and mug.

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These doctoral students could not complete their dissertation requirements unless they completed these extra courses.

Lying to Students

Richard Cordray, the Federal Student Aid office’s chief operating officer, has stated that GCU’s lies have harmed students. They only lied so they could convince more doctoral students to enroll in their programs, according to Cordray.

Many students sitting down in a lecture hall taking notes.

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Richard Cordray, the Federal Student Aid office’s chief operating officer, has stated that GCU’s lies have harmed students. They only lied so they could convince more doctoral students to enroll in their programs, according to Cordray.


GCU Denies Allegations

GCU has already denied all of these allegations. The university also announced that it intends to appeal this government fine.

An up-close look at the Student Union building on the Grand Canyon University campus.

Source: davidpinter/Wikimedia Commons

In an email sent to CNN, GCU stated, “Grand Canyon University categorically denies every accusation in the Department of Education’s statement and will take all measures necessary to defend itself from these false accusations.”


GCU Being “Unjustly” Targeted by Government?

GCU has also claimed that they are being “unjustly” targeted by the federal government. According to the university, the government is only going after them because GCU sued the government recently.

The White House seen in front of a green lawn in the daytime.

Source: David Everett Strickler/Unsplash

This lawsuit came about after the government considered the university a for-profit college, rather than a nonprofit. GCU sued the government over this decision — and this latest fine came soon after.


Government Denies These Allegations

Government officials have already denied these GCU allegations. However, many critics of the Biden administration have run with the idea.

Cars parked in a parking lot in front of a Grand Canyon University building.

Source: davidpinter/Wikimedia Commons

As a result, many in conservative circles have begun to talk more about how the Biden administration has fined GCU — and how they think it’s proof that the administration is going after the college for no apparent reason.


GCU vs Other Colleges

Some of these critics have stated that the Biden administration is only going after GCU because they are a successful, private Christian college.

A teacher pointing at a board while a projector is one.

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These detractors have explained that the government doesn’t agree with how the college is run — as they want it more in line with what they say occurs at so-called liberal universities.


A Large Fine

Critics have also pointed out that this fine against GCU is an enormous one. Compared to the fines that other schools have had, these analysts believe that GCU is being unfairly targeted.

Three students walking in the grass on the campus of Grand Canyon University.

Source: davidpinter/Wikimedia Commons

Other universities that have been accused of failing to protect students from crimes haven’t even been fined this much. By comparison, the government only fined Penn State University $2.4 million after they failed to report the crimes of coach Jerry Sandusky.


Other University’s Fines

Penn State isn’t the only example one could use, however. A similar comparison could be made between GCU’s fine and Michigan State University’s fine.

Buildings seen on the Grand Canyon University campus in the daytime.

Source: davidpinter/Wikimedia Commons

Michigan State University was only fined $4.5 million after the school refused to talk about team doctor Larry Nassar and the crimes he committed. As critics have pointed out, $4.5 million is a lot less than GCU’s $37.7 million.