Another university is SUED over coronavirus refunds...or lack thereof

Students at Michigan State University are suing their school, accusing it of not providing them with adequate refunds after having to leave campus due to coronavirus.

As the coronavirus crisis worsened, universities moved classes online and told students to vacate campuses for the second half of the spring semester. However, this prompted questions about the thousands of dollars students paid for room and board and tuition for the semester. 

Students at MSU are displeased with the housing refund the university offered, suggesting they aren’t getting their money’s worth. On top of that, students say they have been offered no tuition refund despite moving from in-person to online courses.

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“Despite the cancellation of live in-person instruction, the constructive eviction of students at the University for the remainder of the semester, and the cessation of all campus activities for at least the same time period, the University has not offered adequate refunds of tuition, room and board, and fees paid to cover the cost of certain on-campus services which will no longer be available to students,” states the lawsuit, according to a statement from Milberg Phillips Grossman, the law firm that filed the suit.

“Students are not getting the full value of their tuition because they are not experiencing on-campus college life and all of the attendant resources,” Jennifer Kraus-Czeisler, senior ocunsel at Milberg Phillips Grossman told Campus Reform. “[Students] are merely using online learning tools rather than in-class lectures and labs, in direct contradiction as to what they contracted for” she added. 

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The lawsuit argues that the $1,120 refund issued to students is not proportional to the roughly $5,250 charged for room and board, given that students were forced to leave with around half of the semester remaining. 

The firm also points out that while Michigan State tuition and fees cost $14,524 for in-state students and $39,830 for out-of-state students, students have received no tuition refund, citing a Brookings study concluding that online classrooms contribute to lower median grades, and possibly a higher drop-out rate among students. 

Michigan State University did not respond to requests for comment.

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