Temple University has been hit with a proposed class action looking to recover tuition and fee refunds the school has apparently refused to provide despite evicting students and shutting down facilities during the coronavirus pandemic.
Filed in Pennsylvania, the 16-page complaint says that while Temple did the right thing by closing campus and transitioning to online learning, tuition- and fee-paying students have been deprived of the benefits of in-person instruction, access to facilities, participation in activities and other services for which they’ve already paid.
In the alternative, any reimbursement provided by the Philadelphia school has been “inadequate and/or arbitrary” and fails to fully compensate those who paid tuition and fees for the Spring 2020 semester cut short by the pandemic, the lawsuit claims. Further, the plaintiff argues the quality of the classes being offered by Temple online is in no way commensurate to the in-person learning environment for which students paid tuition and fees.
“Plaintiffs and members of the Proposed Tuition Class did not choose to attend another institution of higher learning, or to seek an online degree, but instead chose to attend Defendant’s institution and enroll on an in-person basis,” the case reads. “Common sense would dictate that the level and quality of instruction an educator can provide through an online format is lower than the level and quality of instruction that can be provided in person.”
Temple announced on March 11 that all classes would be moved online and all students would be asked to return to their permanent homes, effective March 16, the complaint says. The plaintiff estimates Temple students were deprived of roughly 45 percent of the semester for which they had already paid.
Temple is eligible to receive money under the federal CARES Act, which requires that colleges and universities who receive a piece of the $14 billion released by the government use at least half of those funds to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for COVID-19 related expenses stemming from campus disruptions, according to the complaint.