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Grand Canyon University / financial aid/president of gcu

1 3300 W Camelback RoadPhoenix, AZ, United States Review updated:
Contact information:
Phone: 1.602.639.6600

I am sending forth this complaint about GCU (Grand Canyon University) which is supposed to be a Christian college. I had been wanting to attend school at GCU since Dec. 2007. I submitted the paperwork and did my financial aid papers. I waited and waited for the financial aid department to contact me; and they never did. So I became suspscious after redoing my financial aid online.

After I had seen that GCU had my financial aid papers for months, I called them to see what was going on. A representative name Tom had gotten really rude with me. He stated it was my responisibility to contact them about the financial aid. Now I'm a new student; not a repeat student. This had been five months by that time; and I realized I could've started at GCU since May 2008.

I kept calling and calling and kept speaking with Tom who had refused to allow me to speak with the head financial aid in this case was/is Tim Fisher. After speaking with two other representatives, I was told to send an email of my complaint. I had sent several complaints. Mr Fischer I spoke with on the telephone; had told me that if I wanted to attend GCU and he apologized to call him directly. Well this ended being a lie. I had several more issues/problems to arise with the financial aid department, and I called Mr. Fischer and sent him numerous emails and no call back or response.

I tried to contact Mr. Eagan and ended up speaking with Tom and Valerie who are representatives of GCU; and began the process all over again. After getting an email address and direct number for Mr. Eagan who is the manager of GCU; then again no response at all. Neither Mr. Eagan, Mr. Fischer bothered to contact me. So December 2008, I wrote to the president of GCU whose name is Dr. Kathy Player, and she never bothered to respond back to my letter. After approximately a month & a half, I received a letter from Mr. Fischer stating he wanted to do a conference call. So what Dr. Kathy Player did was passed my letter back to the one who lied and I had the problem/issue with to begin with.

I sent Mr. Fischer an email stating my time was wasted dealing with GCU and how poorly a Christian University is about the customer service I received for months. I needed my finanical issues to be corrected. As of this day, my situation hasn't been solved. I did made an attempt to call Mr. Fischer who as in the past is never in the office. I guess Dr. Player is what she is a player.

Extremely poor service at a Christian University, how sad. This complaint could go longer. I have every email and documentation of the long issues I have gone through for the past year and a few days with GCU.

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  • Wi
      27th of Apr, 2009
    +3 Votes

    I completely appreciate your situation as that there are many others who are going and have gone through what you have. As I responded to another complaint in this same forum I will keep this one shorter, but please check out the other response I posted.

    While GCU uses the "Christian" aspect as the front to sell their school, they are far from that when dealing with customer service. They will do everything to ignore your complaints and don't care if you have any of them. Only if you really keep pursuing them will they eventually respond and the only reason why they would want to conference call you is to see if you have enough evidence to sue them. If you don't they will continue to treat you poorly because they just don't care. Brian Mueller, former President of University of Phoenix runs GCU now and only wants to see stock prices go up. If someone has something legal or damaging to their image they will resolve it right away to make sure it does not get traction and ruin the stock opportunity.

    GCU is still under investigation for possible violations of policies and laws and unless more people like yourself continue to speak up, their money will probably win. It is so important that people start to rise up against GCU before they become another company like the ones on Wall Street who screw people over who put their trust in them.

    The reason I can say these things with certainity is due to working for them and witnessing everything first hand. I am hoping to continue to start helping others join together and make sure others are not hurt by this company who cares more about stock prices than the students.

  • Xe
      6th of May, 2009
    +2 Votes

    My husband is using his GI bill to attend this school. They are taking money from the governement via us troops to fund there school, because they know that they are going to get there money. I have a list of complaints that will be addressed with Veterans Affairs on schools that they approve to fund for US Veterans. Not only are they using "Christian" they are also taking advantage of taxes payers money that are paying for our troops to get an education after or during serving the military. More to come on this issue. We'll see how long it takes for the school to get my personal situation resolved with the school.

  • Gl
      30th of Jul, 2009
    +3 Votes

    I can certainly relate to difficulties with Grand Canyon University Financial Aid. My "Finance Counselor" Melissa Penny told me that my disbursement refund would be sent to me by the 14th of July. Then all of a sudden, there is this code on my account for the student loans. Well she claims it held up the Pell Grant too. The student loans had already been applied to my account. I never even got a notice that the funds would be late and I was depending on them as a single parent returning to school. My son is disabled, and I could not complete my Bachelors Degree in the past. So, I thought I'd do so at Grand Canyon. Three FAFSA Representatives advised me that there was no reason why my disbursement would not be posted and available for my use. But this Melissa Penny claimed that "they" will be reviewing my account soon. She never told me who "they" were. In fact she acted as if she were disinterested. I was lucky when she even answered me at all. And her boss, Chris Nicholson (F.A. Admin. at GCU) was worse. He flat out lied to me. He said he had personally mailed the disbursement refund to me, then she came back days later and said it was mailed at another time. It's ridiculous. He was very rude to me and acted as if I were bothering him. I tell you--I wish I had not chosen this school. I honestly feel that they are stealing grant and loan money or mismanaging it. I applied for the Teach Grant and they won't even tell me if it is being processed or not.
    They sicken me and I wish I knew who at the US Dept. of Education to report them to. I am currently reviewing other schools to switch to.

  • Di
      31st of Jul, 2009
    +2 Votes

    Hi, I am sorry to hear of your difficulty with GCU as well. I was just advised to report them to the Arizona Commission for Post Secondary Education at 602-258-2435. There were too many discrepancies in their stories when I asked where my disbursement was. And I dropped one class and she took off nearly $1000.00 for that. I still was enrolled in three classes. One person in the Financial Aid Dept. at GCU told me one thing, and then I would get a different response to the same questions days later. It was obvious in this guy Chris's voice that he didn't want to speak with me. He gave me this very dry, "hello" the last time I spoke with him as if I were being a pain. He claimed the hold up was due to a system crash sending all of the loan and grant money back when a fellow GCU classmate of mine got hers. Then this Melissa claimed it was due to a code. Which one one was it? And he says all the ones with a code was sent back. The GCU Financial aid department is the worse I've ever seen. I was almost as if they were taking the money and putting it back. Then this Chris guy goes, "We will do better in the future. We can't have the students telling each other when they got their disbursements, " and then he laughed. What was funny? I kept getting that impression that the funds were being re-routed somewhere and replaced later. This is a Christian school? If you need me to tell my experience with them as well, then let me know. I will do so gladly. I filed a complaint with the Dean of Student Affairs there (GCU) and they didn't even respond. And Melissa responds when she wanted to. God, they act as if they just don't care. Without the students, they would not even be in business. I went back to school for a second degree so I could teach. The Teacher Shortage in my area is awful. Lord I just wish I had picked a better school but I didn't know. Their instructors are fantastic though. It's just their financial aid department--it's a joke.

  • Wi
      26th of Aug, 2009
    0 Votes

    I have had nohing but a good expereince with them

    instead of sitting around complaining there are steps

    get all documentation together
    contanct your financial providers loans etc
    contanct go to their national site
    file complaint
    file police report

    watch what you say on these boards- it will come back to bite you big time
    sitting around complaining doesn't help anybody- just make you look like disgruntled students

    yes word of mouth will make or break a business but it had better have proof behind it or it will be case for libel- written

    take action

    by the way bbb has them rated A+ little hard to get that and be pulling questionable stunts - also according to them there is no governmental action against them- do your home work

  • Wi
      26th of Aug, 2009
    Best Best Advice +5 Votes

    Well "willubeleft", you sound like the attorney from GCU that I had a meeting with. I do agree people should not make up stuff and post it, but that is certainly not what I have done. I do challenge you though to take a closer look at what you wrote and do some more home work yourself.

    1) I do have evidence that will prove my accusations.

    2) I did check the BBB and you are correct that they are rated A+, but did you also see that the University of Phoenix is also rated A+ and they have paid out millions of dollars for similar issues that people are now complaining GCU is doing. (how ironic that some of the people who ran U of P when they got sued are now the ones running GCU)

    3) You say "according to them there is no governmental action against them". However...

    ..the results of the ongoing investigation by the Department of Education's Office of Inspector General and the pending qui tam action regarding the manner in which we have compensated our enrollment personnel, and possible remedial actions or other liability resulting therefrom...

    I pulled this information directly off the GCU website and I do believe that the Dept of Education is part of the government. Also, if you look up what a qui tam action is you would also see that it involves the government.

    I am glad that you had a good experience with GCU and I am sure many others will also, but that does not mean GCU is immune from the free will of people who do not necessarily follow the same morals and values you or I have.

  • Sl
      23rd of Jan, 2010
    -1 Votes

    GCU is full of lies. They get you to post your first assignment, so they can get your money! All of their advisors will call you to death and act as if they care so much about your education, but they could care less. I have never been treated so unfairly! It was a nightmare!! GCU should be closed down literally!

  • Sc
      31st of Jan, 2010
    +1 Votes

    GCU Financial Department is a PAIN...! I have my own experience about it and it left me speechless: the department has cancelled my Federal loan without giving me a damn! notice, and took the responsibility to send my loan back to the lender without me knowing...I have never seen such a process...and they are telling me that I have to pay the money back from my own pocket. The thing is the School changed its procedures in the middle of my semester...
    This action happened from a Christian school. Halleluya!!

  • Ke
      8th of Feb, 2010
    +3 Votes

    I'm a long time student at Grand Canyon and my problems with them began before I was accepted as a regular student. Most recently, I've been audited by them three times in the last 12 months. In fact, the last audit, just a few weeks ago, was for the exact same thing I was audited for in the previous quarter. In fact, the information they asked for was the exact same information they asked for last September.

    In terms of the most recent case, GCU has had my funds in hand since January 4, 2010. Well, I just received my refund check today! Where has my money been? I am looking for some way to verify, but I believe the school has been using my money as a deposit to draw interest from. Why do I make this assertion? I worked for the State of Oklahoma Treasurer's Office for a few years and learned of a practice used regularly by the government. They take taxpayers funds and deposit huge amounts of cash in various banks for a short time, and then withdraw the principal as well as the exhorbitant amounts of interest. This is an entirely legal practice for the government to do but is highly unethical and illegal for colleges to do this because the money is not theirs'. It belongs to the student and as such, they only have the right to withhold funds to cover amounts owed to the school. By law, the remaining money must be refunded to the student.

    Last year GCU changed their policy in terms of how long they can hold a student's money. Their current policy is they can hold the student's money for up to three weeks after they receive the money from the bank.

    I spoke with my employer, a professor at several schools who advised me that Capella University got into big trouble for the same practice. I am interested in filing a class action suit against GCU with respect their highly unethical and potentially illegal practices. If you're interested in participating, please let me know.


  • Ac
      23rd of Mar, 2010
    +1 Votes

    I am glad I found this site - I have had the worst time with them - not so much financially but with the academic advisors - they won't return my calls and so I've emailed them and asked them to email me back with answers and all they say is that they tried to call me - the one time they do. I have gotten switched around to a new counselor 3 times within 8 months and each time I am told I have a different amount of credits left, and what classes they will transfer. I finally was in Phoenix recently and called to make an apt to actually sit down with someone and go over everything. I was told I didn't need an I went to the ground campus where they told me no counselor there could help an online student. So I called the online counselors and was informed that they never sit down with anyone and it is all done via email and phone - how bizarre - I can't even talk to someone face to face about my education, especially when it is so expensive? Then they asked why I didn't go to the ground campus and ask for help?! Seriously? I was told that someone would get back to me that day from academics and finances, and now it's been two weeks again. Then, I was enrolled in a class I already had transfer credits for and they told me to take the class and afterwards I could go for a petition and get my money back. I am still waiting on that four months later - after repeatedly leaving voice mails and messages about it. I was also told I would be put in two classes at a time - and have been put in one for the last 10 months - the last time I talked to them they said I needed to request it - I told them I was informed that after my first class this would be done and I have been requesting it since then. I am done after this class and I am so mad about this experience and feel that it has been a waste of money and a year. At least I know I am not alone. On a positive note - I did enjoy my teachers - but that was the only good thing about that school.

  • Di
      28th of Mar, 2010
    +1 Votes

    I don't even know where to begin about the ordeal that has been ongoing in my dealing with them. There is either no return call, no working computer, or the person who needs to handle the situation is out sick. I am so angry about their numerous "transgressions" that I could puke. It amazes me how I can talk to my academic counselor four days in a row and he still asks how I spell my name and respond to me as if it is the first time I am calling about the situation. After telling me approximately 18 times (over a two-month period)that he is going to talk with his supervisor and he or the supervisor would call me back, I asked him not to tell me that again because neither he nor the supervisor has responded to the issue or has shown any concern. Additionally, the other seven people that got involved kept rerouting me back to the original ineffectual characters. I might add that I have been dealing with the issue for almost a year. The buck has been passed around and around.
    I want to join whatever or whoever I can to get situations resolve. They invent ways to keep your money.
    Disgusted in CA

  • Ve
      1st of Apr, 2010
    +1 Votes

    While I am not one to normally "flame" any company via message boards, I am in the process of looking for ways to get my complaints addressed as well and it is definitely helpful to know that there are others out there having the same concerns that I have been having.

    My mother attends GCU and the only problem she has encountered has been bad learning team groups. While I have had nothing but problems! It is definitely their customer service that has no focus. I wish all of you with problems the best of luck and if anyone has the name of someone that is helpful, I'd be happy to find out so I can try and get a resolution to the issues I am having too.

    Thank you!

  • No
      2nd of Apr, 2010
    +2 Votes

    For those that suggest that Grand Canyon's A+ rating has a great deal of significance, might I take it a step further by saying that Grand Canyon has had 65 complaints in the last 36 months.

    BBB processed a total of 65 complaint(s) about this business in the last 36 months, our standard reporting period. Of the total 65 complaint(s) closed in the last 36 months, 25 were closed in the last 12 months.

    These complaints concerned:
    1 regarding Advertising Issues
    1 regarding Advertisement misrepresented a product
    29 regarding Billing or Collection Issues
    27 regarding Billing or Collection Issues
    2 regarding None of the Above - Indicate Credit, Billing or Collection Complaint Issue
    1 regarding Contract Disputes
    1 regarding Contract Disputes
    10 regarding Customer Services Issues
    9 regarding Customer Services Issues
    1 regarding Failure to provide promised assistance or support for products or services
    1 regarding Delivery Issues
    1 regarding Delivery Issues
    12 regarding Refund Or Exchange Issues
    1 regarding Failure to honor refund, exchange or credit policies
    11 regarding Refund Or Exchange Issues
    2 regarding Selling Practices
    1 regarding Sales presentation used dishonest sales practices
    1 regarding Selling Practices
    9 regarding Service Issues

    Following is the criteria that the BBB uses to grade businesses:

    BBB assigns ratings by evaluating businesses in the following categories:

    * BBB experience with the industry in which the business operates
    * The business’ length of time in operation
    * Whether BBB has information that the business does not have required competency license
    * Any known government actions against the business that are related to marketplace activities
    * Any advertising issues found by BBB
    * The number of complaints received by BBB from the business’ customers
    * The number of complaints received by BBB from the business’ customers that are of a serious nature
    * Whether the business has responded to complaints received by BBB
    * Whether complaints have been resolved in a timely manner or the business has demonstrated it made a good faith effort to resolve them
    * Business’ overall complaint history with BBB
    * Whether the business has failed to resolve the underlying cause(s) of a pattern of complaints
    * Whether the business has honored any commitments to BBB to arbitrate or mediate disputes and comply with arbitrator decisions and mediated settlements
    * Whether BBB has sufficient background information and clear understanding of business
    * Whether the business is a BBB Accredited Business
    * Whether BBB Accreditation was revoked because the business failed to comply with agreed BBB standards

    In GCU's case, EACH of the 65 complaints have been labeled as "resolved". This does not imply that the complaints were incorrect or erroneous. It simply means that GCU responded to the complaint in some manner.

  • Ke
      2nd of Apr, 2010
    +2 Votes

    Additional... this is addressed to the person who appears to have a vested interest in GCU. It's only libel if we cannot provide substantiated facts. It's only libel if it is not true. In fact, according to the Media Law Resource Center, "Libel and slander are legal claims for false statements of fact about a person that are printed, broadcast, spoken or otherwise communicated to others. Libel generally refers to statements or visual depictions in written or other permanent form, while slander refers to verbal statements and gestures. The term defamation is often used to encompass both libel and slander."

    They go on to say, "In order for the person about whom a statement is made to recover for libel, the false statement must be defamatory, meaning that it actually harms the reputation of the other person, as opposed to being merely insulting or offensive."

    So, that being said, we have voiced the facts from our perspective. I for one, would welcome a day in court against Grand Canyon University. I dare say they do not want the spotlight turned on them, but I'm ready if they are.


  • St
      28th of Apr, 2010
    +2 Votes

    I am deep sadden to read such all of these complaints. Is there anynone at the school that we can contact? The BBB can not do any (I tried), so are we just at the mercy of the school.

    I was told by my financial advisor that I did not qualify for financial aid due to the fact that I did not have enough hours. It has come to my attention that I would have indeed qualified because I was working on my receiving my Masters.

    Since I did not apply for financial aid I was indebted to GCU directly. I never received a bill from GCU and my account was sent to a collections agency a little over a month after my last class.

    As it stands now I can't receive my transcript until this debt is paid, which is barring me from receiving my pay increase from my job. My credit report is damaged, and it sickens me to think that I should have been covered under financial aid.

    I have tried several different avenues, even contacting the Better Business Bureau to fix this issue but all representatives from Grand Canyon states that this matter is out of their hands and there’s nothing they can do. I can not understand how I could receive false information pertaining to financial aid, and have my loan sent to a collections agency without receiving a bill but there’s nothing no one can do. I feel Grand Canyon has made a mistake and has turned their back on fixing the mistake. What sums the customer care up for me is when a customer service representative told me during one of my call ins that “during my time period (GCU) was adjusting the financial advisors for my alphabet” and “looks like my case fell thru the cracks”.

    What to do ...


  • Tb
      1st of May, 2010
    +2 Votes

    I'm so frustrated! It's May and GCU still hasn't posted my financial aid package for the 2010-2011 school year. They say it may be the end of the summer before I get my financial aid. But I need that financial aid for living expenses!!! One person I spoke with said I can't use that money for living expenses which is ridiculous- that's partially what it's for!!! I verified this with the Dept. of Ed. No one returns my calls or emails. When I wait for the "next available advisor, " I'm told something different each time. I'm worried that there will be a screw up and I won't receive financial aid and I'll be stuck with a huge tuition bill. Does anyone have any ideas on how I can get them to communicate with me???

  • Jo
      21st of Jun, 2010
    -1 Votes

    This is not a complaint but just a simple question that I wish I could get answered. My daughter is going to attend GCU this fall. She has been a true Southern Baptist Christian since she was very young. I know many religions call themselves christian. My question is about who owns GCU. I heard it was recently taken over by the Mormon religion who also call themselves christians. I have no grievances toward any religion. People have their own choices and freedom of speech along with religious beliefs. I don't want my daughter to get sucked in by the whole christian speech that they use to lure students to later find out that she will no longer be involved in the southern baptist beliefs but indeed with the mormon beliefs. Someone who knows the answer to my question, please post your response as soon as possible. Thank you!!

  • Ju
      28th of Jun, 2010
    +1 Votes

    Thank God I am not alone in this!!! Most people I talk to are completely rude and I get a different answer EVERY SINGLE TIME I call!!! I have been selected for verification EVERY semester. My husband, also a student, has as well. It is almost July and we have not received funds yet. Today I was told that I should have posted my information on the student portal...I have! MONTHS ago!!! Then he said the student portal would tell me that things were due-it hasn't, because everything has been turned in. Multiple times, at that because they keep losing our paperwork. They canceled one of my husband's July classes, they now say they can't get him into another one, and are telling us that it will mess up our financial aid. I don't know what to do husband and I have a family and both work full time nights. We have had to make major cutbacks to be able to afford to go to school, and now we are stuck with a textbook we cannot get a refund on due to class cancellation, and we have to buy textbooks for other classes...this is coming out of pocket now and we can't afford it-that's why we had to get financial aid! I have contacted the Better Business Bureau with no results. I can't get anyone to get me to a supervisor in Financial Aid, and there are not any phone listings ANYWHERE on the internet for the school to be able to find the Dean or whomever else I can call. I am at the end of my rope. Someone please help me. I don't know what else to do.

  • Ca
      29th of Jun, 2010
    +1 Votes

    Ive been attending GCU since March 2010. Between now and my start date, I had nothing but issues. It now June and my funds just posted from my financial aid. I ve had Three financial counselors, my current counselor, havent heard any thing from her in a month or I finished verification in March...but funds conveniently posted at end of they can try and charge me for summer classes...This school is a joke... Never heard of a school without test...All the so call Counselors are just regular / fulltime Customer Care Reps...Please dont waste your time Here is a________________________ Expense Mistake

  • Ic
      26th of Jul, 2010
    +1 Votes

    Hello! Right now I'm going through a hard time with the finance department especially my advisor Lanae Bensor. I been in school since June 14th, 2010. They just found out now that I had loans from a previous school. They were supposed to call my lender and let them know I'm continuing my education so that I can get my previos loans on hold. I told Lanae this before I started school. I sent e-mails and even left messages but nothing. Her excuse was I'm busy and have lot's of students. My expirence at GCU has been HORRIBLE! All I get from them is everything is ok, don't worry about it, and your fine. This department is unprofessional, inexpierenced, and liars. I read all the bad reviews from GCU and didn't think this will happen to me but my goodness it has. I do pray that this school will be investigated and shut down because it's a thorn to people who want to better themselves and continue their education. Before I started class I goot nothing but phone calls from them sying we need this and fax this etc.. My academic advisor has not called or did a follow up. So it's not just this department it's all over the schoool. Now that I'm enrolled in GCU, the calls have stoped. SHAME ON YOU GCU!!!

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