FTC Files Lawsuit Against Largest Christian University in the United States for Misleading Advertising

The Federal Trade Commission, on Wednesday, announced its lawsuit against Grand Canyon University (GCU), marking the second instance under the Biden administration where a federal agency has taken action against the largest Christian institution in the nation.

This legal action is part of what the university contends is a coordinated effort by multiple agencies against them. According to the FTC’s press release, the lawsuit targets GCU, its marketing entity Grand Canyon Education, Inc., and its president and CEO Brian Mueller. The allegations include the use of deceptive advertising and involvement in illegal telemarketing.

The complaint specifically cites the misleading information provided to prospective doctoral students regarding the duration of GCU’s accelerated program, deceptive marketing portraying the school as a nonprofit, and unlawful calls to prospective students who had expressed a preference not to be contacted after submitting their details on the school’s website.

“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,” Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. “We will continue to aggressively pursue those who seek to take advantage of students.”

The complaint alleges GCU’s violation of the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rules. It seeks compensation for consumers affected by the purported violations and urges the U.S. District Court in Arizona to prevent further breaches of the law by the university.

While a GCU spokesperson has not yet responded to FOX Business’ request for comment on the lawsuit, Brian Mueller, the university’s president and CEO, previously stated to Fox News Digital in late October that he believes the Biden administration is unfairly targeting the institution. Mueller claimed that multiple federal agencies were engaged in a coordinated attack against the school.

Adding to the university’s challenges, on October 31, the Department of Education (DOE) imposed a $37.7 million fine on GCU. The DOE asserted that its investigation, conducted by the office of Federal Student Aid, uncovered that GCU had “lied” to over 7,500 former and current students regarding the cost of its doctoral programs over several years.

The DOE, in a press release, stated that GCU “falsely advertised” a lower cost for its doctoral programs, with approximately 98% of students ultimately paying more than the advertised amount.