Students: If Your School Is Refusing to Refund Your Room and Board, Fees, or Tuition After COVID-19 Closures, You May Be Eligible to Recover Losses

After the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic forced campuses to discontinue on-campus educational and other activities for the 2020 Spring and Summer semesters, some schools continued to charge for room and board and other fees, like lab and gym fees, when students didn’t have access to said facilities. And it’s not just colleges and universities who have refused to reimburse students (and their parents and guardians), it’s also:

  • Trade schools and technical colleges, including those that teach:
    • Culinary arts
    • Truck driving (Commercial Driver’s License programs)
    • Cosmetology (hair stylists, nail techs, massage therapists, etc.)
    • Graphic design, video game design, etc.
    • Automotive
    • Dance schools
  • Graduate schools
  • Private universities and colleges
  • Community colleges
  • Boarding schools
  • Private K-12 schools and academies
  • And more

If you attend (or attended) a school that closed down and transitioned from on-site education to remote online learning, you may understandably be worried about whether or not you or your student are getting what you paid for. If you have not received those services or been provided the benefits you bargained and paid for, you may be able to recoup some or all of those losses.

We at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin want to hear from you if you are a student, parent, or guardian that paid their balance of tuition and fees for the semester prior to COVID-19 forced school closures, and were subsequently refused a refund by the school. Call us at 1-866-900-7078 today for a free case evaluation.

Some schools may have told their students that they plan on refunding some or all of their money, but how many actually have? If your school said they would reimburse you, but have yet to see any money from them, you may also be entitled to compensation.

Fees and Expenses Your School May Have Charged on Top of Tuition

Refunds and Repayments of Room and Board and Other Fees From Schools That Closed Due to COVID-19

COVID-19 (coronavirus) has disrupted millions of students’ pursuit of education. Around mid-March of 2020, states and school districts started shutting down to prevent the rapid spread of the virus. However, even after sending their students home, some schools continued to charge for expenses like:

  • Room and board
  • Student life enhancement
  • Health services
  • Student center fees
  • Meal plans and cafeteria fees
  • Recreational and athletic facility fees
  • Lab fees
  • Technology fees
  • Health and wellness fees
  • Maintenance fees
  • Student events and concerts
  • Transportation fees (parking, campus buses, etc.)
  • Athletic and campus spirit fees
  • Orientation and freshman fees
  • Commencement/graduation fees

According to U.S. News, on top of tuition, these extraneous fees together can add up to an excess of $2,000 to $3,000 per year. Room and board at a private college in 2019-2020 averaged about $13,000 and $11,500 at public colleges, according to College Data. Considering the ever-increasing costs of tuition in the U.S., these fees can be significant.

A U.S. News article quotes students who began a petition calling on New York University to provide partial tuition refunds; they observed that “Zoom university is not worth 50k a year," and "I didn't pay to attend zoom," in reference to the popular videoconference software that many institutions have substituted to replace classroom learning.

Tuition Reimbursement at Schools Following COVID-19 Closures

Some students have filed class action lawsuits to recover portions of their tuition for that semester, not just the associated fees. Many students selected their schools at least partly based on the school’s on-campus and in-classroom experience that the school marketed.

For example, at a school like Duke University in Durham, NC, students may be drawn by the beautiful campus, the promise of personal interactions and hands-on learning with their professors and classmates, the sense of school pride that comes with the athletic program there, and more.

Once the school transitioned to online learning at home, students were forced to accept that, at least for the spring and summer semesters (and maybe into the fall), they would not be getting the on-campus experience that may have motivated them to choose Duke in the first place.

Students who wanted to learn through an online platform have the option to get a web-based education, with schools like University of Phoenix or ECPI University offering 100% online courses.

Jonathan Zimmerman, a professor who specializes in the history of education at the University of Pennsylvania, said in an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Most online instruction isn’t as effective as the traditional kind, which is why elite schools have consistently resisted it.”

Trade School and Technical College Tuition Refund Lawsuits

Trade schools and technical colleges that require hands-on training and offer a curriculum that’s based around in-person learning are some of the best examples of how online “learning” falls short. As adaptable as educators may have become in the transition to at-home learning, the practical teaching necessary to prepare students at trade schools cannot be taught effectively through videoconferencing.

For example, culinary students won’t all have the same machines and tools at home that the school would normally be able to provide them. Trucking schools rely on instructors and trainers being in the vehicle with the student to guide them through obstacles and correct their techniques. Cosmetology schools draw in volunteers to help teach their students how to properly give haircuts. All of these schools rely heavily on in-person and one-on-one lessons to properly and thoroughly prepare their students to afford the necessary skills needed to succeed in their careers.

If you are a student that attends a trade school or technical college, and the school has not refunded you your fees, you may be able to bring a claim against the school with our help. If you think your quality of education has suffered due to the COVID-19 closure and that you deserve a tuition refund, we should talk. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078, chat with us, or contact us here.

Schools Trying to Avoid Reimbursing Students Their Money

Many schools have tried to avoid refunding money to their students. While some schools have offered partial repayment for room and board or prorated amounts, some schools have not. We hope that this page sheds light on this behavior and calls attention to the fact that you may have a legal recourse to recoup your money.

Some schools have offered to credit the amount paid for the 2020 Spring semester towards another semester. Some have only allowed this option if the student comes back the following semester, essentially trapping them into attending. But what about those students who have already graduated? How will they get a fair shake?

There are thousands of schools in our country, and their various approaches to addressing these issues covers a wide range. With the stress of coping with other aspects of this pandemic, the last problem students and parents should have to deal with are these.

COVID-19 School Closures

If you or anyone you know goes or went to a school that has not provided recourse for students to recover their room and board, fees, or tuition after COVID-19 closures, please call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078, chat with us, or contact us here today for a free case evaluation. Time is of the essence in bringing these cases to light, and we are here to guide you.