Two students, one from the University of Miami and the other from Drexel University, filed proposed class action lawsuits against their institutions last week saying they should be refunded spring semester 2020 tuition and other fees and costs because their schools have been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, reported Law 360.
Both suits are lodged in South Carolina federal court and both students are represented by Anastopoulo Law Firm LLC, which is also based in the state. The suits could potentially represent thousands of students each, from Philadelphia-based Drexel and the University of Miami.
“Although [the universities are] still offering some level of academic instruction via online classes, plaintiff and members of the proposed [classes] have been and will be deprived of the benefits of on-campus learning,” the students said in both complaints. “Moreover, the value of any degree issued on the basis of online or pass/fail classes will be diminished” for the rest of the students’ lives, they said.
Most universities in the country have moved to online instruction and many have replaced letter grades with pass/fail performance indicators keeping in mind the limitations of online instruction and other disruptions students have faced as a result of campuses being closed.
The students said in their complaints they “have been and will be deprived of utilizing services for which they have already paid, such as room, board, access to campus facilities, parking and other opportunities.” They are alleging breach of contract and unjust enrichment.