Wednesday, January 24, 2024

A big fine. . .

Founded in 1949, Grand Canyon University was a nonprofit institution until 2004. In an effort to increase capital for the university to avoid closing, they partnered with private investors in order to obtain capital and grow the university.  While Grand Canyon is not supervised by the LCMS, it has a conservative Missouri Synod man at the helm and its embedded mission is unapologetically Christian, and conservative Christian.   Former-seminary professors from the LCMS teach there.  It's located in and has dramatically improved the economics of an inner-city area of Phoenix. The university returned to being a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt Arizona nonprofit status in 2018 in which they stated was approved by the IRS, Higher Learning Commission, State of Arizona, Arizona Private Postsecondary Board, and NCAA Athletics.  However, the Department of Education rejected its nonprofit request. After failed negotiations on the university's nonprofit status, GCU pushed back with a lawsuit arguing the department's decision was "arbitrary and capricious" in 2021.  All the while the school grew to in excess of 25K students.

In its latest assault on institutions that fail to adhere to its ideological bent, the Biden administration  imposed the largest fine in the history of the U.S. Department of Education on Grand Canyon University (GCU) — a school whose motto is "private, Christian, and affordable."  To put that $37.7 million fine to scale, that is 10 times bigger than that levied against schools who covered up some of the worst sex offenders in U.S. history.  By any measure, the Phoenix-based GCU is a success story.  It has exploded in growth from under 1K students to more than 25K -- offering degrees in every conceivable discipline yet with a tuition increase in over 15 years. It all came to a head in November 2023, when the department assessed a $37.7 million fine against GCU (more than 15x larger than the $2.4 million fine against Penn State University for failing to report the crimes of serial pedophile and football coach Jerry Sandusky and 8 x larger than the $4.5 million fine against Michigan State University when that school refused to address sexual assaults committed by now-disgraced team doctor Larry Nassar.   

Now I do not know that much about GCU nor of its Lutheran connections but it does seem that the fine imposed is a threat not only against that school but against any and all who dare to defy the US Department of Education and its liberal and progressive agenda and rules.  While this may be more of a local issue, the over all picture is how difficult it is and will be in the future for a college or university to extend its independence from the liberal and progressive elite who decide everything from funding to accreditation.  They sky is not falling yet but the foundations are cracked.

1 comment:

Carl Vehse said...

Not mention in your article was the reason for the fine.

The Department of Education fined GCU after "[a]n FSA investigation found GCU lied to more than 7,500 former and current students about the cost of its doctoral programs over several years. GCU falsely advertised a lower cost than what 98% of students ended up paying to complete certain doctoral programs."

These extra costs these students paid totaled to more than $50 million. Using this scale, the $37.7 million fine doesn't seem too much.