萌萝社

Federal government鈥檚 scrutiny of GCU draws rebuke from 萌萝社 Chamber, business and political leaders

The 萌萝社 Chamber of Commerce & Industry is calling on Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to end his department鈥檚 unfair treatment and scrutiny of Grand Canyon University. 

In a from the Chamber to Cardona sent last week, the Chamber cites its concern over the Department of Education鈥檚 refusal to acknowledge GCU鈥檚 transition from a for-profit status to non-profit, which has led to litigation that diverts resources away from the university鈥檚 educational mission. 

Furthermore, the letter expresses concern about the excessive scrutiny placed on GCU, which is typically reserved for institutions that offer subpar educational programs and that encourage students to rely on loans to finance their education. In stark contrast, GCU鈥檚 graduates are well-prepared for the job market, graduate with less debt, and repay that debt more reliably than their peers. 

鈥淲hen an institution of higher learning is producing graduates ready for today鈥檚 economy, is keeping students鈥 costs down, and is investing in its home campus鈥 traditionally underserved Maryvale neighborhood of Phoenix and its schools, we should stand up and applaud,鈥 萌萝社 Chamber of Commerce & Industry President and CEO Danny Seiden said. 鈥淵et in the case of GCU, the U.S. Department of Education is tying the school up in red tape and moving goalposts, making it more difficult for the school to continue its good work.鈥 

The Chamber says the Department of Education鈥檚 arguments against GCU are 鈥渇limsy鈥 and 鈥渂orderline preposterous.鈥 For example, the government says that GCU鈥檚 estimates of the cost of finishing a doctoral program weren鈥檛 sufficiently transparent. But GCU provides prospective doctoral students with far more information on costs than ever required by the federal government. The government has also made the charge that GCU鈥檚 advertising claim that 鈥淐ybersecurity experts are in high demand鈥 is misleading when the need for cybersecurity professionals in today鈥檚 workforce is obvious. 

The Chamber says it believes that the government鈥檚 actions are inconsistent with Secretary Cardona鈥檚 stated vision for a new higher education model. GCU has proven to be a disruptor in the higher education landscape and plays a crucial role in making education accessible to a diverse array of students, representing a step toward realizing the secretary鈥檚 vision. 

鈥淭he department should absolutely safeguard the integrity of higher education, but the treatment of GCU is disproportionate and, at times, hostile,鈥 Seiden said. 鈥淭he contradictory guidance and relentless demands placed on GCU are detrimental to the university鈥檚 growth and to the students it serves, who deserve far better treatment.鈥 

Seiden says GCU, with its transformative impact on higher education, is attracting students from across the nation. Arizona depends on GCU and its graduates, and the country needs more institutions like GCU dedicated to expanding access to quality education. 

GCU is garnering support from leaders inside and outside of Arizona.聽

At an October 6 meeting of hundreds of GCU employees at the Phoenix campus, Phoenix sports and business icon Jerry Colangelo聽said that GCU is one of the greatest success stories he has ever seen.

鈥淭o know the facts and see how the government is responding the way they are, it鈥檚 absurd. It really is,鈥 said Colangelo, whose name graces GCU鈥檚 business college. 鈥淵ou can鈥檛 quit on this issue, you have to fight the issue when truth is on your side. You go to the mat and you continue to fight the battle until the battle is over.鈥

Arizona state Senate President Warren Petersen, House Speaker Ben Toma, Senate and House Education Committee Chairs Ken Bennett and Beverly Pingerelli, as well as Senator Janae Shamp, all Republicans, sent their own to Cardona, writing, 鈥淢any in Arizona, and in higher education, view GCU as a model of innovation for postsecondary education that provides solutions for 21st century demands. It is this revolutionary approach to higher education that causes many in Arizona, and in the higher education community, to value GCU and look to it as a leader in the future of higher education. However, it appears for these same reasons GCU is celebrated, the Department is targeting the University. The issues being discussed by the Department could easily be resolved by two amicable parties.鈥 

The university is also finding allies on the opinion page.聽In a recent Wall Street Journal under the headline, 鈥淏iden鈥檚 Regulators Gang Up on a Christian College,鈥 the paper said, 鈥淕CU offers woke-free vocational training and a liberal arts education,鈥 and that the government鈥檚 targeting of GCU would ultimately hurt GCU students.

Image from GCU

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