Cincinnati, Ohio class action attorney investigating claims of school impropriety in retaining student fees and tuition while colleges and universities remained closed. Tuition refunds have not been offered in many cases.
It seems unlikely that educational institutions would take advantage of students in a time when campuses are forced to close. But college students are reporting that some colleges and universities in Ohio and other states have allegedly charged students tuition and student fees, even as the semesters and classes have been canceled.
While the coronavirus has hit colleges and universities in different ways, they are all affected by social distancing measures. Many schools have moved classes online, and others have closed all instruction and campus activity. For colleges that have canceled instruction, attorneys are investigating possible tuition refunds for thousands of students.
Students have reportedly lost at least a semester’s worth of tuition, as well as student fees. Universities have thus far resisted tuition refunds for obvious reasons. Some have promised future credits, though others have been silent on the subject, stirring up some legal debate.
Students have entered into class action lawsuits that seek full or partial tuition reimbursements. Students of the University of Miami have filed a class action lawsuit with claims that they should pay less for online courses. Another class of students at Drexel University have filed a lawsuit asking for full tuition refunds, as well as related student fees.
An anonymous student filed a lawsuits against Columbia University, alleging damages in excess of $5 million for breach of contract and unjust enrichment. While nobody is arguing that closing the campus was the correct move, students should have their tuition refunded since they no longer have access to campus facilities and basic student activities.
Some college students around the country have been removed from campus and have turned to asking for housing refunds. Students have sued colleges asking for prorated housing cost refunds. Universities have largely been following the direction of state distancing mandates, though some have deviated from that direction.
Jerry Falwell, Jr., the president of Liberty University, brought students back to the Virginia campus in the course of the virus outbreak. One student has filed a tuition reimbursement claim after the college merely offered a $1,000 credit for the fall for students who chose not to return to campus. Critics have called the Liberty move a money grab and a ploy to retain tuition fees.
Joe Lyon is a Cincinnati, Ohio Class Action Lawyer investigating tuition refund lawsuits on behalf of students in Ohio and nationwide.
Universities and colleges have been allocated stimulus money, provided for in the CARES Act. Half of the federal money can be used at the discretion of individual schools, and the other half goes to students in grants. There is sure to be some colleges with cash flow problems and may not be able to offer full tuition refunds.
Some colleges have reimbursed students for housing costs after moving classes online. The University of Colorado spent $44 million refunding housing and dining fees for its students, and Colorado State University paid $19 million in rebates for housing and dining.
It is still early in the legal process and classes of students are still filing suit, trying to recover tuition costs and student fees. Judges will later rule on how these class actions can proceed. Consumer protection lawyers are investigating potential cases nationwide.
If you or a loved one has paid tuition and housing costs to a college or university only to see the campus closed and classes canceled, contact The Lyon Firm for a free consultation at 800-513-2403. We can review your case and discuss the legal options available to you.