A proposed class action claims Fairleigh Dickinson University has wrongfully retained the full amount of students’ Spring 2020 semester tuition and fees despite transitioning to online classes in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
The lawsuit argues that students were deprived of the benefit of the in-person education and services for which they paid after the school discontinued face-to-face instruction at its New Jersey and Vancouver campuses on March 16. Nevertheless, Fairleigh Dickinson has refused to offer any refunds for services that are no longer being provided, according to the suit.
The plaintiff, the parent of an undergraduate student, claims the remote learning options provided by the school for the second part of the spring semester are “in no way the equivalent” of the in-person experience that tuition and fees were meant to cover. Noting that the online programs offered by Fairleigh Dickinson can cost as much as 50 percent less than in-person instruction, the lawsuit argues that students who pay to physically attend the school expect “an entirely different experience” that includes face-to-face interaction with faculty and peers, access to campus facilities, student organizations, extra-curricular activities, hands-on learning, and networking and mentorship opportunities.
“The online learning options being offered to FDU students are subpar in practically every aspect and a shadow of what they once were, from the lack of facilities, materials, and access to faculty,” the complaint states. “Students have been deprived of the opportunity for collaborative learning and in-person dialogue, feedback, and critique.”
The lawsuit looks to recover a pro-rated portion of tuition and fees proportionate to the amount of time left in the Spring 2020 semester after classes were moved online and campus services were no longer provided.
With the filing of this 16-page suit in New Jersey, Fairleigh Dickinson joins dozens of schools who have been hit with potential class action litigation over COVID-19-related campus closures.
ClassAction.org’s coverage of COVID-19 litigation can be found here and over on our Newswire.