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Columbia University to Pay $12.5 Million to Settle COVID-19 Refund Claims

Columbia University to Pay $12.5 Million to Settle COVID-19 Refund Claims

“requires approval by U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan”

Columbia is one of the lucky schools that can afford a settlement like this. What happens when a smaller school without resources gets hit by this kind of suit?

Reuters reports:

Columbia University to pay $12.5 mln to settle COVID-19 refund claims

Columbia University agreed to pay $12.5 million to settle a lawsuit by students who claimed it failed to refund fees when it moved classes online in the spring 2020 semester because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A preliminary settlement of the proposed class action was filed on Tuesday night, and requires approval by U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan.

Columbia will refund $8.56 million in fees for student activities, health services and the use of its gyms, libraries and other facilities, and pay nearly $4 million to avoid the risks of further litigation.

The Ivy League school had previously given a partial fee refund. Roy Willey, a lawyer for the students, said the $8.56 million was 100% of what the university still owed. Columbia denied wrongdoing in agreeing to settle.

At least 261 lawsuits have been filed against U.S. colleges and universities over their alleged failure to refund tuition and fees when the pandemic forced them into remote learning, according to the law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner.

Many of these lawsuits have been dismissed, including a case against Harvard University in June, because the schools had not contractually promised in-person instruction and access to on-campus facilities.

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henrybowman | November 25, 2021 at 4:11 pm

Oh dear. The CDC issued a “get out of rent free” card, but forgot to include a “get out of contracts free” card. Well, I’m sure they won’t make that mistake next time.


 
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Albigensian | November 25, 2021 at 9:02 pm

“Columbia will refund $8.56 million in fees for student activities, health services and the use of its gyms, libraries and other facilities”

I guess I don’t see the problem. If you paid fees for student activities, health services and the use of gyms, libraries and other facilities and the student activities were not furnished, the health services were not available, and you weren’t permitted to use the gyms, libraries and other facilities then why should you not receive a refund on these fees?

Maybe schools should stop trying to crappy cellphone vendors and other less-than-honest vendors and stop larding all these mandatory fees on top of the charges for whatever services are on offer (such as tuition)?

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