Columbia University agreed to pay $ 12.5 million in compensation to students who sued Ivy League for not offering tuition refunds when it moved online classes in March 2020.
Like many other American colleges and universities, Columbia has closed its New York campus, relocated students from dormitories and switched to distance learning in the aftermath of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic. The university’s response led to a class action lawsuit in which a group of four students argued that Colombia had violated a contract by failing to provide their paid-for on-campus study opportunities.
The lawsuit was later expanded to include all full-time students who attended Colombia in the spring 2020 semester, arguing that approximately 30,000 students are eligible for a refund of tuition fees and fees paid for services, premises, access and other facilities. delivered.
Under the terms of the pre-settlement filed last week, $ 8.56 million will go towards reimbursement of fees paid for student activities, university medical services; and the use of gyms, libraries and other campus facilities. An additional $ 4 million will be paid to cover administrative costs, attorney fees, classroom rewards and further litigation risks.
“The pandemic has created major challenges to support the teaching, research, patient care and public service that are at the heart of Colombia’s mission,” Colombia said in a settlement statement. “Throughout this period, we have tried to meet the needs of our students.”
The court documents also noted that Colombia “continued to deny all allegations of wrongdoing,” but is willing to allow legal action to “avoid additional costs, inconveniences and burdens” subject to a prior settlement that still requires a court decision. US District Judge Jesse Furman’s approval to become an official.
Furman cut some of the claims in a lawsuit in March when he told Columbia University students that they did not point to any specific promise made by the school to offer purely personal instruction. But he allowed the case, stating that the students reasonably stated that the university had violated “specific contractual obligations” to provide access to certain campus facilities and activities in exchange for tuition fees.
At least 261 similar claims have been filed against American colleges and universities over the amount they decided to reimburse students, according to a lawsuit tracked by law firm Bryan Cave in Missouri. Many of these lawsuits were dismissed with rulings that schools did not contractually promise personal instructions or access to campus facilities.