A proposed class action looks to recover tuition and fee refunds from Auburn University, alleging students did not receive the benefits and services for which they paid once the Alabama school transitioned to online learning amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Though the plaintiff and proposed class members paid tuition and fees for an in-person educational experience, such was canceled and transitioned online by Auburn effective March 16 as the coronavirus pandemic spread, the suit says. The lawsuit claims Auburn has failed to uphold its end of the contract in failing to provide the services, facilities and experiences for which proposed class members bargained.
According to the lawsuit, Auburn’s Spring 2020 semester was set to run from January 8 to May 1, 2020. The plaintiff, an undergrad, says he paid more than $15,500 in tuition and fees to attend the school, plus more than an additional $2,000 in “college/school” fees.
On or around March 12, Auburn announced it would suspend all in-person classes and transition to online academics due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the case continues. On March 20, Auburn solidified its decision by announcing its cancellation of in-person learning would extend for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, the suit says.
In all, Auburn was unable to provide in-person educational experiences, services and opportunities for “approximately 44%” of the semester, the suit claims.
“Plaintiff and the Class did not enter into an agreement with Defendant for online education, but rather sought to receive in-person education from Defendant’s institution,” the complaint argues. “Therefore, Plaintiff and Class Members are entitled to a pro-rata refund of the tuition and fees they paid to [Auburn] for in-person educational services as well as other marketed collegiate experiences and services that were not provided.”
The lawsuit marks the latest filed against dozens of colleges and universities nationwide over their apparent refusal to issue tuition and fee refunds despite necessarily closing up shop due to the coronavirus pandemic. The case looks to represent those who paid tuition and fees to Auburn for the Spring 2020 semester.
ClassAction.org’s coverage of COVID-19 litigation can be found here and over on our Newswire.