Marist College has been hit with a proposed class action filed by an undergraduate student in search of a tuition refund for part of the Spring 2020 semester after the school was forced to close due to the COVID-19 crisis.
According to the lawsuit, Marist announced on March 16 that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, classes would be held remotely for the remainder of the semester beginning March 30. The plaintiff claims that although she paid nearly $20,900 in tuition and fees for the Spring 2020 semester, Marist has refused to issue refunds for any tuition and allowed students to apply for a refund of only some fees.
The lawsuit argues that the online instruction offered by Marist after students were asked to leave the Poughkeepsie, New York campus has been “subpar in practically every aspect” to the level of education that was already paid for through tuition and fees.
“Students have been deprived of the opportunity for collaborative learning and in-person dialogue, feedback, and critique,” the suit states. “The remote learning options are in no way the equivalent of the in-person education that Plaintiff and the putative class members contracted and paid for.”
The case adds that students’ inability to access campus facilities, participate in activities, and take advantage of in-person opportunities has further deprived them of the educational experience the school advertised before enrollment and for which they paid thousands of dollars.
“Plaintiff and the putative class are therefore entitled to a refund of all tuition and fees for services, facilities, access and/or opportunities that Defendant has not provided,” the case alleges. “Even if Defendant did not have a choice in cancelling in-person classes, it nevertheless has improperly retained funds for services it is not providing.”