New York University faces a proposed class action over its alleged failure to issue refunds or adjustments for the Spring 2020 semester that was transitioned online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the 33-page lawsuit, NYU students should have been reimbursed for the costs of tuition and fees after the university canceled in-person classes and closed down its New York City campus in March 2020. The case, filed June 7 in New York federal court, claims the school’s decision to transition to online learning deprived students of the benefits of an on-campus degree program, access to campus facilities, student activities and other benefits and services for which they paid tuition and fees.
Per the case, students and others who paid Spring 2020 tuition have not been fully compensated for their losses.
“Defendant has either refused to provide reimbursement for the tuition, fees, and other costs for access and services that Defendant failed to provide during the Spring 2020 semester, or has provided inadequate and/or arbitrary reimbursement that does not fully compensate Plaintiff and members of the Classes for their loss,” the complaint scathes.
According to the lawsuit, NYU promised in its marketing materials to provide tuition-paying students with various benefits and services “beyond basic academic instruction,” including face-to-face interaction with professors, mentors and peers; access to campus facilities, such as libraries, computer labs, study rooms, workshops, gyms, laboratories and athletic fields; student governance, unions, extracurriculars, performances, artwork and other activities; exposure to diverse communities; social development and independence; hands-on learning and experimentation; and networking and mentorship opportunities.
The case alleges, however, that students were deprived of the in-person educational experience for which they paid when New York University announced on March 11, 2020 that all classes would be transitioned online as a result of the pandemic. Though students were provided with “some level of academic instruction via online classes,” NYU failed to deliver the benefits of on-campus enrollment for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, the suit says. Nevertheless, the defendant, the lawsuit alleges, has refused to issue “any refund whatsoever” with respect to tuition, and provided only “unfair, arbitrary, and wholly insufficient” refunds of fees paid for the Spring 2020 semester.
The lawsuit, which echoes the allegations in a recently dismissed case against NYU, looks to cover anyone who paid tuition for or on behalf of students enrolled in classes at New York University for the Spring 2020 semester but were denied live, in-person instruction and had to use online distance learning platforms for the latter portion of the semester. The case also proposes a class of people who paid fees for or on behalf of students enrolled in classes at NYU for the Spring 2020 semester.
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