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Coronavirus closures prompt class action lawsuit against Brandeis University over tuition refunds

Coronavirus closures prompt class action lawsuit against Brandeis University over tuition refunds

A Massachusetts student has filed a class action lawsuit against Brandeis University seeking tuition refunds after coronavirus forced the college to close its Waltham campus and move courses online.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court on behalf of the unnamed student, slams Brandeis for continuing to charge tuition and fees “as if nothing has changed, continuing to reap the financial benefit of millions of dollars from students” despite their “complete inability to continue school as normal.”

It follows similar lawsuits the firm representing the student, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, has brought against Boston University and several other institutions.

The student in the lawsuit claims the transition to online learning was “disruptive and ineffective,” saying one professor never rescheduled a week of lectures canceled in the transition, and that another simply provided PowerPoint slides and “disorganized notes” instead of online lectures.

“Students did not enroll at Brandeis to click through PowerPoint slides and waste their student loans on cancelled classes and absentee coursework,” Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, said in a statement.

Brandeis announced March 11 it would move classes with more than 100 students online by March 16 and that all classes would resume virtually after spring break. Students were required to move out of residence halls by March 25.

The university has pro-rated credits for room and board, but has not offered a similar refund for tuition and other fees, the lawsuit says.

“Our students are receiving course credit, and making the same progress toward their degrees as they would otherwise,” the university’s website says. “Online education is not less expensive to provide than in-person learning, and Brandeis has incurred significant unanticipated expenses around this transition.”

Brandeis did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

Brandeis had a more than $1 billion endowment and operating revenues of roughly $356 million as of last June. The university charged $28,690 for undergraduate tuition and $956 in fees for the spring 2020 semester, the lawsuit said.

Published at Fri, 29 May 2020 21:12:18 +0000