Coronavirus Lawsuits – College Tuition & Cost Reimbursements
Coronavirus lawsuits are being filed throughout the country to seek reimbursement for college tuition, room, board, meal plans, and fees (such as, lab, library, gym, parking, and health clinic).
Our law firm is accepting clients who were attending a public or private college or university which school system switched its on-campus courses or living arrangements to off-campus. We will be seeking reimbursement for the money you paid for on-campus courses and for room, board, meals, various fees, and other services.
We have been handling lawsuits against the largest companies in the world since 1955. We are listed in Best Lawyers in America and The National Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame.
What Do We Know About the Coronavirus College Lawsuits
Numerous individual lawsuits and class action lawsuits have been filed against public and private colleges and universities seeking monetary refunds for students whose on-campus classes and services were canceled because of actions the schools have taken in response to the coronavirus.
Most colleges and universities have canceled on-campus classes for the remainder of the semester and even for the summer semester. Instead, students are required to continue their studies through online classes. Students did not pay for online classes, which most often are charged at a lower tuition price. The price difference is because the online class experience is significantly inferior to in-person classes.
Colleges have required students to abruptly leave campus, even though the students had paid for room, board, food, fees (such as, lab, library, athletic, gym, parking, and health clinic), and other on-campus services. Many of the students relied upon this housing and food for basic survival. Even for the students fortunate enough to return home, they and their family are now required to expend money that they otherwise would not have spent if the school had continued to provide the services they had agreed to and were paid.
These colleges and universities have caused immense hardship for their students, many of whom have taken on tremendous loans and debt to pay for the college services.
Compensation in the Coronavirus College Lawsuits
If you were attending a public or private college or university and you were required to leave campus due to the coronavirus, then we will be seeking the following damages for you:
- Reimbursement for on-campus classes you had paid for but no longer are able to attend in-person.
- Room and board you paid for but no longer being offered.
- Food service you paid for but no longer being offered.
- Fees (such as, lab, library, athletic, gym, parking, and health clinic), and other services you paid for but no longer have access.
The Tuition, Fees & Costs that Colleges Charge
Tuition represents the largest slice of the college-cost pie chart. The tuition aspect of this financial commitment connects directly to the academic instruction the institution provides its students. This higher-learning expense rests on a subjective, warm-and-fuzzy rationale, as we weigh the reputation of the school against the price tag for the education we trust it will deliver.
The remainder of the costs wrapped into what a university charges its students stem from fees associated with attending class and operational expenses associated with occupying the campus:
- Campus fees cover building maintenance and use of the health center and other facilities.
- Lab fees may attach to certain types of courses, like those related to science or computers, to cover the cost of equipment maintenance, as well as a teacher’s assistant who oversees the lab use.
- Some schools also charge separate “spirit fees” to support athletic programs.
- Tech fees are commonly assessed to provide campus Wi-Fi, computer labs, and printers.
- Transportation fees support “public” transportation for students who need to travel around campus.
- Schools that provide drug or alcohol awareness programs may charge a wellness fee.
- Some schools charge environment fees, and seniors pay commencement fees to cover the cost of graduation.
- Finally, many students opt to live on campus and also pay dormitory fees and meal plans.
It costs the university money to build, operate, and staff these non-academic-related offerings, so it makes sense to pass the cost on to the students using them.
The Fair Costs and Fees When Classes and Living Move Online
But what do these operational expenses mean to the college student who is not using them—not by choice, but because the entire campus is closed?
This is the question parents are asking in the wake of forced closures of higher education campuses across the country. These schools have continued serving students an education via online classes, and so these costs remain relevant (from some perspectives, anyway).
But what happens when a student is not living or eating on campus—not by choice, but because of state-mandated responses to a pandemic? Why should students pay for campus fees when they are not sitting in classrooms, working in labs, researching at campus libraries, using health centers, enjoying school sporting events, or attending graduation ceremonies? For many students and parents, the costs do not add up to anything logical.
Many institutes of higher learning have long offered educational programs both virtually and on campus. Common to these schools, however, is the pricing strategy for these classes, which prices online education programs at dramatically lower rates—some as much as 40 percent lower—than their on-campus counterparts. Putting all theoretical discussions aside, this business model in an of itself opens the door for refund demands from students who paid for an on-campus education but wound up sitting in a Zoom-delivered lecture.
Seeking Tuition & Fee Reimbursement
College expenses related to the campus experience simply are not justifiable, especially in the coronavirus climate when so many parents and students have lost essential income.
This is why parents and students are demanding refunds for these expenses—and many institutes of higher education are cooperating with at least partial refunds of non-academic fees. The issue gets somewhat stickier when the subject of tuition reimbursement surfaces.
Most students—and even professors and instructors—would agree that online teaching does not deliver the same platform for learning as what is provided in the classroom—and this is what students agreed to pay for when they chose one school over another.
According to The New York Times, however, universities are arguing that the educational product associated with tuition is still being delivered, and furthermore, that students will receive a diploma from the university, which retains its value in the job marketplace, independent of the actual education.
It is precisely this resistance that is leading many students and parents to seek their refunds via lawsuits.