Rochester Institute of Technology faces a proposed class action filed by another student who claims the school has refused to refund tuition and fees for the Spring 2020 semester, which was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the lawsuit out of New York, RIT failed to provide the in-person educational experience and services for which students contracted and paid. Although the school has offered partial refunds or credits for room and board, meal plans, and parking fees, the full amount of students’ tuition and fees has been retained by RIT, the case says.
“Plaintiff and the Class did not enter into an agreement with Defendants for online education, but rather sought to receive in-person education from Defendants’ institution,” the complaint reads. “Therefore, Plaintiff and Class Members are entitled to a pro-rata refund of the tuition and fees they paid to Defendants for in-person educational services as well as other marketed collegiate experiences and services that were not provided.”
The mother of a Rochester Institute of Technology student claims the school has unlawfully retained the full amount of tuition and fees paid for the Spring 2020 semester shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite transitioning to online classes as of March 23 and directing students to vacate their residences by April 5, RIT has allegedly refused to provide refunds for services that the case says are no longer being provided.
The lawsuit argues that the remote education offered by the Henrietta, New York school for the second portion of the Spring 2020 semester “is not even remotely worth” the amount paid in tuition and fees given tuition for in-person instruction costs more per credit than RIT’s online classes. An in-person educational experience encompasses more than just academic instruction, the suit says, relaying that students physically present at the school’s campus are provided with face-to-face interaction with faculty and peers, access to campus facilities, and various other resources and activities that are no longer available.
According to the plaintiff, who paid roughly $20,000 for her son to attend RIT’s Spring semester, the school has failed to provide contracted services and is therefore obligated to reimburse those who paid the full amount of tuition and fees in exchange for such.
“Defendant’s performance under the contract is not excused due to COVID-19,” the complaint argues. “Indeed, Defendant should have refunded the pro-rated portion of any education services not provided. Even if performance was excused or impossible, Defendant would nevertheless be required to return the funds received for services it will not provide.”
The lawsuit, which echoes claims filed against dozens of other institutes of higher education, looks to represent anyone who paid RIT Spring 2020 tuition and fees for in-person educational services that were not provided and who has not received a refund.
ClassAction.org’s coverage of COVID-19 litigation can be found here and over on our Newswire.