Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, faces a proposed class action wherein a parent says the school owes tuition and fee refunds for the Spring 2020 semester cut short by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
As a result of Rutgers’ response to the pandemic, students “lost the benefit of the education for which they paid, and/or the services for which their fees paid,” the 15-page breach of contract complaint argues. Even if the school had no choice in canceling in-person classes, Rutgers has “nevertheless improperly retained funds for services it is not providing,” the suit contests.
Rutgers, New Jersey’s largest university, announced on March 10 via letter that all classes were canceled through March 22 and would begin to be held remotely on March 23, the case says. According to the plaintiff, however, the online learning options offered by Rutgers during the pandemic are “subpar in practically every aspect” and fall far short of the access to facilities, materials, and hands-on instruction for which students already paid tuition and fees.
“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 complaint reads. “Nevertheless, Rutgers has not refunded any tuition or fees for the Spring 2020 semester.”
The plaintiff, whose son is pursuing a degree in supply chain management, says that Rutgers’ program for such relies extensively on “in-person instruction, meaningful student presentations, peer collaboration, and access to university facilities.” The suit reiterates that none of these resources are available to the student while in-person classes are suspended. The plaintiff’s son’s tuition and fees ran more than $8,000 for the shortened spring semester, according to the complaint.