“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?
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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