Written by Ashton Snyder on
 April 11, 2024

GOP Probes Biden's Ed Department Over Hefty Fine on Christian College

In an unprecedented move, House Republicans are taking a stand against the Biden administration's hefty $37.7 million fine levied against Grand Canyon University, alleging a lack of solid evidence and political bias behind the decision.

The controversy centers around allegations from the Department of Education that Grand Canyon University deceived thousands regarding the expense of its doctoral programs, igniting a political and legal conflict.

According to Daily Mail, the fine, announced in October 2023, targets the university for supposedly deceiving around 7,500 students concerning the expenses of doctoral studies, aiming to inflate enrollment numbers.

Unpacking the Allegations and the Political Backlash

Grand Canyon University, the nation's largest Christian educational institution, has vocally denied these accusations and committed to an appeal. Four Republican House members from Arizona, including Representative Andy Biggs, are leading the charge against the fine. They have formally demanded that the Department of Education justify its decision, raising concerns over potential political motivations.

The lawmakers suggest that the department's decision may be tainted by political bias stemming from the university's shift from a for-profit to a non-profit status in 2018. They argue that the fine is excessive and indicative of a targeted attack against the university's religious and educational standing.

A Call for Transparency and Fairness

Comparisons have been drawn to fines imposed on other institutions, such as Michigan State University's $4.5 million penalty for failing to address sexual abuse and Temple University's $700,000 fine for misleading rankings information. These examples, cited by the Republican lawmakers, highlight what they see as an inconsistency in the Department of Education's punitive measures.

Under President Brian Mueller's leadership, Grand Canyon University boasts a significant student body, with nearly 26,000 attending college in person and another 92,000 enrolled online. The institution prides itself on its Christian values and commitment to quality education.

Brian Mueller has echoed the sentiments of the Republican lawmakers, criticizing the fine as an overstep by the government. He argues that there is no substantial evidence to back the Department of Education's claims, labeling the action an unwarranted intrusion into the university's operations.

GCU Stands Firm Against Accusations

In their correspondence with the Department of Education, the Republican representatives have minced no words, labeling the fine as "outrageous" and demanding a thorough examination of the evidence—or lack thereof—supporting the department's claims.

They contend that the Department of Education's actions betray a prejudice against successful transitions from for-profit to non-profit educational models, especially in cases where the institution holds a significant religious affiliation.

Representative Andy Biggs has further criticized the department's actions as emblematic of a broader issue within the federal government, suggesting that the fine against GCU represents a misuse of power aimed at a Christian educational institution.

In conclusion, the saga surrounding the $37.7 million fine against Grand Canyon University unfolds as a complex narrative of legal challenge, political debate, and the role of education in America. At its core, it raises questions about fairness, evidence, and the potential for governmental overreach.

The Department of Education's actions, Republican lawmakers' response, and GCU's steadfast denial form a triptych of perspectives in a story that is far from resolution. What remains clear is the significant impact this controversy may have on the landscape of higher education and the interplay between politics and academia.

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About Ashton Snyder

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