GCU graduate shares experience in nursing program amid allegations against university

She said she isn’t surprised the university is facing a nearly $38 million fine from the Department of Education after her experience in the nursing program.
Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 6:11 PM MST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2023 at 11:10 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Donna Mabry graduated from Grand Canyon University in 2022. She said she isn’t surprised the university faces a nearly $38 million fine from the U.S. Department of Education after her experience in the nursing program.

“Everything was just constantly an issue and nursing school is stressful enough. So having that added stress was not conducive with a good learning environment,” said Mabry.

Mabry said she felt misled by the university leaders. She said she was told the accelerated nursing program would be half online and half in-person. However, she said it ended up being entirely online, with the exception of labs and clinical. She also says the university was not upfront about all students having to take a Christian worldview class that costs an extra $800. She said she explained her frustrations in her end-of-the-year survey, but no one ever reached out.

“It made me feel like they don’t care, they didn’t care about how my experience was as long as they got their tuition money,” said Mabry.

The university provided a statement to Arizona’s Family. It read:

The reaction comes as GCU appeals the federal fine from the Education Department. It accuses the school of misleading students in the doctoral program, which is different from the nursing program Mabry was in. An investigation found most doctoral students paid up to $12,000 more than what was advertised.

GCU denies any wrongdoing, claiming the university is being targeted because of an ongoing lawsuit and even suggesting the fine is religious persecution. ”This is government overreach; this is the weaponization of the department,” said GCU President Brian Mueller.

Mabry said she wants to see accountability and change at the university. “I don’t think they are being retaliated against. I think they are being deceptive and they got in trouble for it. Now, they are trying to blame someone else for what they did,” she said. The University points out that they’ve prevailed in a recent lawsuit, and that a 2021 review by the Higher learning Commission referred to GCU’s doctoral disclosures as “robust and thorough, providing prospective students a clear picture of their academic and financial path toward a degree at GCU.”

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