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FTC sues Christian university in Arizona over marketing practices, nonprofit status

The Jerry Colangelo Museum at Grand Canyon University. Associated Press/Photo by Matt York

FTC sues Christian university in Arizona over marketing practices, nonprofit status

The Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday claimed in a lawsuit that Grand Canyon University misrepresented itself as a nonprofit organization and misused telemarketing practices. The lawsuit also alleges that the nation’s largest Christian university misled students about the cost and requirements of its doctoral programs. In a statement to WORLD, GCU categorically denied the allegations, which it said it intends to refute. GCU called the FTC’s lawsuit an “example of the Biden administration weaponizing federal government agencies in a coordinated effort to target institutions to which they are ideologically opposed.” GCU added that it is recognized as a nonprofit by the IRS, the state of Arizona, and the Higher Learning Commission, an accreditor. The FTC’s lawsuit also names Grand Canyon Education Inc. and GCU President Brian Mueller as defendants. GCE handles marketing services for the university.

Has GCU faced other lawsuits? The U.S. Department of Education in October fined the school $37.7 million for allegedly lying about the cost of its doctoral programs. An investigation by the office of Federal Student Aid found that GCU misrepresented the costs of the programs to over 7,500 students. The university denied those claims and has appealed the fine.

Dig deeper: Read Elizabeth Russell’s report in WORLD Magazine about the fine levied against GCU.

Lauren Canterberry

Lauren Canterberry is a reporter for WORLD. She graduated from the World Journalism Institute and the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism, both in 2017. She worked as a local reporter in Texas and now lives in Georgia with her husband.

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