Five Universities Face Lawsuits Demanding Refunds

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At least five universities and university systems are facing class-action lawsuits among students demanding tuition and fee refunds due to spring semester changes made as a result of the Chinese virus pandemic.

Drexel University, University of Miami, the Board of Regents of the University of Colorado, Arizona Board of Regents, and Liberty University are all facing class-action lawsuits filed by students, according to a report by Inside Higher Ed.

The report added that the Anastopoulo Law Firm is currently representing students in the three class-action lawsuits against Drexel University, University of Miami, and the Board of Regents of the University of Colorado.

The lawsuits alleges that online classes are not of equal value to classes taken in person, and thus are not worth the tuition that students have paid for on-campus courses.

In related news, a recent poll has revealed that 77 percent of college students find online courses to be “worse” or “much worse” than in-person classes.

The lawsuits against the three universities and university systems also claim that their decision to implement pass/fail grading systems this semester has reduced the value of their degrees.

In addition to moving classes online to prevent the spread of the Chinese virus, colleges and universities across the country — including every single one of America’s Ivy League schools — have also gone lax with regards to grading policies for the spring semester.

The lawsuits say that they represent thousands of students enrolled at these universities, according to Inside Higher Ed.

The report adds that two separate class-action lawsuits against the Arizona Board of Regents and Liberty University were filed on behalf of students claiming that they paid fees for amenities — such as recreation, health services, room and board, and meal plans — which they did not use after they were moved to online courses due to the Wuhan coronavirus.

Thus, the students are demanding fee refunds “proportionate to the amount of time that remained in the spring 2020 semester when classes moved online.”

Liberty University — which actually allowed for its students to return to campus after spring break — is reportedly granting $1,000 to students who moved out of the school’s dormitories, according to a university spokesman.

“While it’s not surprising that plaintiff class action attorneys would seek to profit from a public health crisis, we don’t believe this law firm or its single client speaks for the vast majority of our students,” read a statement from Liberty University.

“Similar class-action suits are pending against other schools,” the statement added, “and such claims will no doubt be made against other higher education institutions that changed how they operate and deliver services to students in the face of COVID-19.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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