A proposed class action claims the Manhattan School of Music has been “unjustly enriched” by refusing to refund tuition and fees for the Spring 2020 semester curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the 14-page suit, tuition and fees for in-person instruction at the Manhattan School of Music are higher than for online institutions given the school’s costs cover academic and musical instruction; face-to-face interaction with professors and peers; access to music and study rooms and libraries; extra-curricular activities; participation in public performances; and networking and mentorship opportunities.
Despite moving classes online on March 23 and thereafter being unable to provide any of the aforementioned experiences and services already paid for by students, the Manhattan School of Music has refused to refund any portion of students’ Spring 2020 semester tuition payments, the lawsuit says.
As the plaintiff tells it, the payment of tuition and fees in exchange for an in-person education and access to facilities, activities and staff constitutes a binding contract between proposed class members and the defendant. Nonetheless, the suit says, the Manhattan School of Music has deprived students of the experience and services for which they already paid while choosing to retain tuition and fees improperly.
In addition to pivoting to online learning, the defendant announced its spring break would be extended to three weeks instead of two, which was followed by the school’s extension of classes to May 15, the time during which final exams were initially scheduled, according to the lawsuit. Classes did not meet regularly during the extra week tacked onto the semester, the case says.
On May 15, the defendant canceled its graduation ceremonies and instead held an online “toast” without announcing graduates’ names, the suit adds. According to the case, the Manhattan School of Music also announced it did not intend to give out diplomas until August as the school is “having difficulty determining which students officially graduated.”
While the school has said it would offer refunds for food purchases paid for in advance via the Chartwell system, no refunds have been received to date by the plaintiff or proposed class members, the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit looks to represent anyone who enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music for the Spring 2020 semester, and who paid tuition, mandatory fees, or voluntary fees for services and privileges that the institution failed to fully provide, and whose tuition and/or fees have not been refunded.
The Manhattan School of Music joins dozens of other colleges and universities nationwide who face potential class action litigation over their apparent refusal to issue refunds in light of the pandemic shortening the Spring 2020 semester.
ClassAction.org’s coverage of COVID-19 litigation can be found here and over on our Newswire.