Largest Christian University Faces FTC Lawsuit for Alleged Deceptive Advertising Tactics

Grand Canyon University (GCU) claims it is the target of a coordinated agency attack, and the Federal Trade Commission announced on Wednesday that it has filed a lawsuit against the university. This makes GCU the second agency under the Biden administration to take legal action against the largest Christian school in the country in recent months.

Grand Canyon Education, Inc., GCU’s marketer, and its president and CEO, Brian Mueller, are the targets of a lawsuit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed in federal court. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants participated in illegal telemarketing and employed deceptive advertising.

According to the complaint, the school located in Arizona misled potential doctorate students about how long it would take to complete its accelerated program, falsely presented itself as a nonprofit organization, and unlawfully called prospective students who had provided their contact information on the school’s website but had requested not to be contacted.

According to a statement from Samuel Levine, head of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, “Grand Canyon deceived students by holding itself out as a non-profit institution and misrepresenting the costs and number of courses required to earn doctoral degrees.” “We will continue to aggressively pursue those who seek to take advantage of students.”

Largest Christian University Faces FTC Lawsuit for Alleged Deceptive Advertising Tactics (1)

In the lawsuit, GCU is accused of breaking the Telemarketing Sale Rules and the FTC Act. The U.S. District Court in Arizona is asked to order GCU to pay customers for the claimed infractions and to stop the university “from further violations of the law.”

When FOX Business asked a representative from GCU for comment on the lawsuit, the university did not immediately reply. However, in late October, Mueller told Fox News Digital that he thought the Biden administration was unfairly targeting the university and that several federal agencies were involved in a coordinated attack on the institution.

Soon later, on October 31, the Department of Education (DOE) penalized GCU $37.7 million, claiming that an examination by the Federal Student Aid office revealed the university had “lied” to more than 7,500 current and past students about the expense of its Ph.D. programs over several years.

GCU “falsely advertised” a reduced cost for its doctorate programs, according to a news release from the DOE, which also stated that around 98% of students paid more than the advertised amount.

Mueller has maintained that there is a connection between the federal investigations and the DOE rejecting GCU’s 2018 attempt to become a nonprofit. GCU’s nonprofit status was rejected by the government for federal student financial aid, meaning that the school is still considered a for-profit organization.

Mueller said at a news conference last month that GCU does not in any way mislead or defraud students, and he vowed that the institution will challenge the DOE’s penalties, which are the highest the department has ever levied.

Joshua Nelson of FOX News Digital assisted with this report.

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