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Court allows Christian colleges to fight lawsuit designed to strip their students of financial aid

Students stand to lose all federal tuition assistance because their schools follow Christian views

Friday, Oct 8, 2021

EUGENE, Ore. – A federal district court issued an order Friday that allows three Christian post-secondary schools to intervene against a lawsuit that seeks to strip all students at private religious colleges of federal financial aid unless their schools renounce core religious beliefs. The suit, filed by a recently formed LGBT activist group on behalf of some current and former students, intends to prevent any students from using tuition grants, student loans, and any other federal financial assistance at schools that operate according to Christian beliefs on gender or sexual morality.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing the three schools—Corban University, William Jessup University, and Phoenix Seminary—asked the court to allow them to defend the relevant provisions of Title IX, the federal law under attack. Among other things, Title IX allows students to use federal financial aid at private religious schools that operate according to their beliefs.

“This lawsuit wants the federal government to tell Christian schools, ‘To continue accepting low- to middle-income students who require financial aid, you have to violate your core beliefs.’ Because that’s neither reasonable nor constitutional, we are pleased that these schools will have the opportunity to defend their freedoms in this case,” said ADF Vice President of U.S. Litigation and Senior Counsel David Cortman. “No court should grant a radical request to rewrite federal law and strong-arm religious colleges by stripping their students of much-needed financial aid.”

The lawsuit, Hunter v. U.S. Department of Education, asks the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon to dismantle the long-established protections in Title IX preventing discrimination against religious schools in the disbursement of financial aid, yet no schools that would be affected by such a radical change were named in the case, so they were therefore unable to defend their rights until now. The Biden administration, which was named in the lawsuit, has already announced that Title IX should be reinterpreted in a way that would undermine religious freedom.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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