Grand Canyon University, the nation’s largest for-profit college, was recently fined by the United States Department of Education for failing to accurately account for how its students were repaying their loans. The fine totaled $37.7 million, and many think it’s a sign of what’s to come for Grand Canyon and other for-profit universities.
The Department of Education’s investigation into Grand Canyon’s loan practices began in 2018, and the findings showed that the university had been providing inaccurate information for over a decade. Specifically, the school had failed to accurately report the default rate of its borrowers who had received federal loans. By not providing accurate data, the school had been able to evade potential further sanctions from the government.
The fine imposed on Grand Canyon is one of the largest in the history of the for-profit education industry. The company issued a statement saying that while they disagreed with the findings, they had taken corrective actions to ensure that such mistakes were not repeated in the future. They also noted that they had already taken steps to refund $21 million in student loans, and had made additional changes to their financial aid policies and processes.
The fine levied against Grand Canyon University is just the latest example of increased scrutiny of the for-profit education industry. With the new rules in place to protect students who borrow money for school, and the focus on fraud and misrepresentation, this trend of tighter regulations is likely to continue.
Despite the fine, Grand Canyon University remains a leading provider of for-profit education. It has long been an innovator in terms of online education, and has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since its initiation. It has also been ranked as one of the top online universities in the United States, and students praise its accessible and approachable faculty and administrators.
It’s clear that stricter regulations on for-profit colleges are being implemented, and the future of such institutions is uncertain. While Grand Canyon University remains a leader in terms of innovation and quality online education, other universities may not be so lucky. The lesson to be learned from Grand Canyon’s fine is that universities must remain vigilant and transparent when it comes to accurately reporting the repayment status of their students.