COVID-19 College Refunds: Who’s Affected?
Do you attend a private college or university that closed due to the coronavirus?
Did your school not issue a refund for tuition, room and board, or any fees or memberships associated with your college or university?
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has caused significant upheaval all across the globe, including for college students, many of whom are borrowing money for their education and now have had to quickly make arrangements to come back home and switch to online classes.
Despite the fact that students will no longer be living on campus, utilizing campus amenities or service or eating in the school cafeteria, many colleges and universities are reportedly not offering refunds for tuition or room and board.
If your private college or university closed because of the coronavirus, but you did not receive a refund for tuition, room, and board or other fees, you may be able to join this coronavirus school refund class action lawsuit investigation.
Find out if you qualify by filling out the free form on this page.
Students Push for School Refunds
As hundreds of schools all across the country closed their campuses and turned to online learning instead, countless students are left wondering if they will ever receive any kind of refund for tuition, room and board or other fees they’ve paid for campus services.
Students who are no longer staying in their dorms or using their school’s meal plans are now essentially responsible for paying for their lodging and meals twice over, and though many may be able to stay with family rent-free, the cost of food is still significant. Students are facing disruptions in their housing, their food, their employment, and more.
“You can’t charge for goods and services that you don’t provide,” said Mark Kantrowitz, an expert in the financial aspects of higher education, told CNBC.
Last year, a survey of nearly 167,000 college students across hundreds of colleges and universities found that nearly half of students faced housing instability. Nearly 40 percent had gone hungry the month prior to participating in the survey. It is these students who will be most affected by school closures with no refunds, according to The Atlantic.
Some students were also concerned about whether the online versions of their classes were “suitable to being online,” The Atlantic also reported.
Some Schools Offer Coronavirus Refunds
Some schools, like Harvard, Tufts, and Duke, have said that they would refund (or partially refund) room and board. Amherst students were told they would be refunded for room and board “for the time that students are away.” Harvard officials also said that the school would help students with financial needs buy tickets home.
But many schools are not going to be offering a similar refund, full or partial, for tuition.
Many schools have argued that they do not have the finances to offer any kind of a refund to students.
For example, Georgetown College president Will Jones told students in an email that “the college is not in a financial position to offer any rebates on housing or meal plans for this three-week period (or the remainder of the semester, if we are in a situation that requires us to remain online beyond the next three weeks),” according to CNBC.
At a four-year public school for in-state students, tuition costs an average of $10,440 for the 2019-20 school year, according to the College Board. For out-of-state students, that tuition is an average of $26,820. For private school, annual tuition is an average of $36,880.
Some schools have already begun issuing refunds, while others have given their promise that they will at some point in the future. Some have said that no decisions have been made yet, and further information will be forthcoming, while some universities have avoided mentioning the possibility of refunds entirely.
“I would not be surprised if colleges that refuse to provide room and board refunds will face class action lawsuits,” Kantrowitz told CNBC.
Coronavirus School Refund Litigation
Some students have already begun pursuing litigation. A group of students filed a class action lawsuit against the Arizona Board of Regents, alleging that their room and board fees should have been refunded after the school closed (and closed its dorms) due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The lawsuit’s plaintiffs say that more than 100,000 students across major schools in Arizona have been affected. Room and board fees at Northern Arizona University, Arizona State, and the University of Arizona are more than $10,000—for dorms and food that the majority of these students will no longer have access to.
ASU and NAU have both said they cannot afford to offer refunds, while the UA has offered a choice between staying in the dorms, getting a 10 percent refund (to be issued in May), or getting 20 percent credited to next year’s tuition, ABC15 Arizona reported.
The Education Department has issued some guidance to schools related to the impact of coronavirus, but has so far left decisions to the individual schools regarding refunds.
“If a school continues to offer instruction to students, but requires students to leave their on-campus housing facilities, it is the responsibility of the school to determine how to make appropriate refunds to students for housing or meal services not provided,” said a spokesperson for the Education Department.
As it currently stands, it looks like whether or not students receive any sort of refund—and how much that refund might cover—will depend on what school they attend.
What Other Recent Lawsuits Have Been Filed?
As recently as April 30th a group of students from Brown University and Boston college have filed class action lawsuits against the two universities, demanding refunds for their college tuition and board that are currently not being used due to COVID-19.
“College students enrolled in classes when the Covid-19 outbreak struck were left with no access to their dorms, to classrooms, campus cafeterias or other facilities they paid to use,” shared Steve Berman, the attorney for the students in the class action, according to CNBC.
“We believe there’s absolutely no reason why they should continue to be stuck holding the bill for tens of thousands of dollars, only to be kicked off campus.”
Join a Free Coronavirus School Refund Class Action Lawsuit Investigation
If you are a student at a private college or university that closed due to the coronavirus, but you did not receive a refund for tuition, room and board, or other associated fees, you may qualify to join a coronavirus school refund class action lawsuit investigation and pursue compensation.
Fill out the free form on this page to find out if you are qualified for this investigation.
Get Help – It’s Free
Join a Free Coronavirus College Refund Class Action Lawsuit Investigation
If you qualify, an attorney will contact you to discuss the details of your potential case at no charge to you.
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Kopelowitz Ostrow Ferguson Weiselberg Gilbert
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
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