FTC Sues Grand Canyon University Over Deceptive Practices

FTC Sues Grand Canyon University Over Deceptive Practices | Enterprise Wired

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken legal action against Grand Canyon University (GCU), filing a lawsuit in federal court against the institution, its marketer Grand Canyon Education, Inc., and CEO Brian Mueller. The suit alleges deceptive advertising and illegal telemarketing practices.

Deceptive Advertising Allegations

The FTC’s complaint contends that the Arizona-based university misled prospective doctoral students about the duration of its accelerated program. It further accuses GCU of presenting itself as a nonprofit institution, despite being for-profit, and unlawfully contacting prospective students who requested not to be contacted after submitting their information on the school’s website.

Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, emphasized the gravity of the situation, stating, “Grand Canyon University deceived students by holding itself out as a non-profit institution and misrepresenting the costs and number of courses required to earn doctoral degrees.”

Legal Action and Alleged Violations

The complaint, invoking violations of the FTC Act and Telemarketing Sale Rules, seeks compensation for consumers affected by these alleged infractions. The FTC is pressing the U.S. District Court in Arizona to mandate restitution for consumers and to bar the university from committing further violations.

GCU’s Response and Previous Actions

In response to the lawsuit, GCU did not immediately provide a comment. However, Mueller previously highlighted his belief that the Biden administration had orchestrated a concerted assault on the university through various federal agencies.

The Department of Education (DOE) also imposed a hefty fine of $37.7 million on Grand Canyon University, alleging the institution had provided misleading information regarding the costs of its doctoral programs to thousands of former and current students. The DOE asserted that GCU had falsely advertised lower costs, resulting in approximately 98% of students paying more than the advertised expenses.

GCU’s Stand and Future Plans

Mueller, contesting the federal investigations, tied them to the DOE’s rejection of GCU’s bid to transition into a nonprofit entity in 2018. He pledged GCU’s intention to appeal the DOE’s substantial fine, asserting the university’s commitment to student transparency and denial of any deceptive practices.

Legal Battles and the University’s Stand

The escalating legal confrontations between regulatory bodies and Grand Canyon University underscore the complexity surrounding the allegations of deceptive practices and misrepresentation. As the legal battles unfold, GCU remains resolute in its stance against the accusations, signaling an intent to challenge the imposed penalties and maintain its reputation as an educational institution committed to ethical practices.

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