A proposed class action claims New York University has failed to reimburse students in the Stern School of Business Executive MBA Program (EMBA) who paid tuition and fees for the Spring 2020 semester that was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the lawsuit, NYU failed to provide the services for which students contracted and paid after transitioning to online learning in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The suit argues that the remote learning options, coupled with students’ lack of access to school facilities, amount to an experience that was “in no way the equivalent” of that which students were promised and for which they had already paid tuition and fees.
The lawsuit adds that even if NYU claims to have had no choice in canceling in-person classes in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the school has nevertheless “improperly retained funds for services it did not and is not providing.”
The case looks to obtain pro-rated refunds of tuition and fees paid for the portion of the Spring 2020 semester, Summer 2020 semester and “continuing,” during which classes were moved online and campus services ceased being provided.
NYU announced on March 16, 2020 that in-person classes, in response to the global pandemic, would be suspended immediately, with students to leave campus no later than March 22, the case states. According to the suit, the school has, since then, held classes only in an online format, even for students with concentrations in areas of study where in-person instruction is “especially crucial.”
Per the case, students such as the plaintiffs, who are pursuing executive master’s degrees in business at NYU’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, specifically chose to attend the university on an in-person basis with the understanding that they would have access to faculty and campus facilities, not to mention opportunities for collaboration, in-person dialogue, networking, trips, food, and critique. The case claims, however, that the online options offered to students since NYU closed its Washington Square campus amount to an “inferior education,” have caused students to fall behind academically, and “created a disparity in their educational progress.”
The plaintiffs argue that the remote education they’ve received was “not even remotely worth” the amount charged for Spring and Summer 2020 tuition, which the case says tallied $50,000 per student per semester.
The lawsuit, which echoes the claims of several previous proposed class actions filed against the university, looks to represent graduate students in the NYU Stern School of Business EMBA Program who paid Spring and Summer 2020 tuition and/or fees for in-person educational services, food, room, board and housing that NYU failed to provide and have not been fully refunded.
Initially filed in New York County Supreme Court, the lawsuit was removed to the state’s Southern District Court on February 4, 2021.
ClassAction.org’s coverage of COVID-19 litigation can be found here and over on our Newswire.