A University of Minnesota graduate recently filed a class action lawsuit for "partial reimbursement of spring 2020 tuition fees due to sudden campus closure and transition to online learning" due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many colleges in the United States, the University of Minnesota closed five locations back in March when the virus began its first surge across the country.
Rolls of rubber bands of hundred dollar bills; Image by Pictures of Money, via Flickr, CC BY 2.0, no changes.
The lawsuit was filed last week in Hennepin District Court on behalf of graduate Patrick Hyatte. In the lawsuit, Hyatte alleges the school "breached its contract with students by charging a full online experience for the second half of the semester". As a result, the lawsuit argues that Hyatte, along with thousands of other students enrolled at the school, "should receive prorated tuition and mandatory tuition reimbursements for this period of the semester". The lawsuit continues:
“The defendants failed to provide the promised personal educational experiences, services, and opportunities for approximately 50% of the 2020 spring semester. The defendants have unilaterally chosen to shift the financial risk onto their students … and wrongly force them to shoulder the burden of COVID-19. ”
It's important to note that the university spent more than $ 35 million last spring to "reimburse students who had to move off campus because of the pandemic with partial reimbursements for room and board." In addition, students received "partial refunds for parking contracts and mandatory student fees that fund campus health services, sexual misconduct prevention programs, student groups and fitness facilities," the school said.
However, many students, including Hyatte, believe they are making a bigger chunk of the money. In fact, last spring, 3,000 students "signed a petition … demanding a partial refund of tuition to reflect the move from face-to-face training to online learning." Despite spending $ 6,700 on tuition and another $ 1,200 for compulsory fees, the lawsuit alleges that Hyatte, an undergraduate student at the time, received only a "disproportionate partial refund of some fees".
Right now, the Hyatte legal team is seeking class action status with so many students in a similar boat. Because of this, his attorneys estimate that thousands of students could join the lawsuit. The complaint goes on to say:
"The university, through its locations, has offered plaintiffs and members of the class the benefits less than contractually agreed … while maintaining the more expensive tuition and mandatory fees paid for on-campus personal education and experience. "
The lawsuit seeks reimbursement of tuition fees for University of Minnesota students after an interrupted spring semester
The University of Minnesota regents are revising room and board refunds to bring more money back