Hagens Berman: Student Sues Washington University in St. Louis Seeking Payback for COVID-19 Campus Closure-Related Losses

Class-action lawsuit accuses Washington University in St. Louis of failing to adequately remedy tuition-payers in light of coronavirus outbreak, and loss of access to university amenities

ST. LOUIS--()--Washington University in St. Louis has been named in a class-action lawsuit filed by a student seeking repayment for spring 2020 semester tuition, fees and other expenses after the campus closed to students following the outbreak of COVID-19, according to attorneys at Hagens Berman.

The student states in the lawsuit that he did not receive the on-campus education, facilities, services, and activities he paid for, and is represented by Hagens Berman, which has also recently brought similar suits against Boston University, Brown University, Duke University, Emory University, George Washington University, the University of Southern California and Vanderbilt University.

The class-action lawsuit against Washington University in St. Louis has been brought by a fulltime student enrolled at the school for the spring 2020 semester and New Jersey resident. The case was filed May 12, 2020, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri and accuses the university of breach of contract, unjust enrichment and conversion.

If you are paying for college tuition, and/or room and board at a college or university closed due to COVID-19, find out more about the lawsuit and your rights. The law firm is investigating all higher education institutions in the U.S.

“Washington University in St. Louis has received national acclaim for its on-campus amenities, and yet when COVID-19 caused a campus closure, the university abandoned its attitude of caring for its student body,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and attorney for students in the class action. “We think tuition-payers – students and parents alike – deserve better.”

“A failing grade”

“Washington University in St. Louis students are suffering from a major loss in quality of their education,” Berman added. The lawsuit cites pre-recorded or voice memos replacing live lectures from professors, shortened and less frequent lectures, and lack of meetings with teaching assistants, among other losses. “Washington University in St. Louis is earning a failing grade right now.”

The suit states, that the university’s courses have not effectively transitioned to online examinations, citing an instance in which an online examination had several multiple choice questions mistakenly drafted without a correct answer, frustrating the plaintiff and his classmates.

The suit’s plaintiff states in the complaint that he chose to attend Washington University in St. Louis due in part to the quality of the school’s facilities, student housing and on-campus amenities, which includes ranking number one for best college dorms and number three for best campus food according to The Princeton Review.

The lawsuit says, “Plaintiff enrolled at WUSTL due to the strength of its academic program, and the opportunities afforded by WUSTL to interact directly with brilliant faculty and peers within the advertised small class and lecture size in the Olin Business School.”

“While some colleges and universities have promised appropriate and/or proportional refunds, Defendant excludes itself from such other institutions treating students fairly, equitably, and as required by the law,” according to the lawsuit.

The suit states that during the spring 2020 semester, Washington University in St. Louis costs students $27,125 for tuition, approximately $6,474 for housing, between $3,319.50 and $2,194.50 for meal plan depending on the student’s plan, $250 for a student health and wellness fee, and $271 for an undergraduate activities fee, “significantly higher than online only programs.”

Other Affected Universities

Hagens Berman is investigating the rights of those who are currently paying for room and board, and/or tuition at colleges and universities across the nation that have been forced to close due to the outbreak of COVID-19. This may include parents, guardians or college students who are paying for their own costs of college.

Despite orders from colleges and universities sending home students and closing campuses, these institutions of higher learning continue to charge for tuition, fees, and room and board. Collectively, these institutions are continuing to receive millions from students despite their inability to continue school as normal, or occupy campus buildings and dorms.

Find out more about the class-action lawsuit against colleges and universities for tuition, room and board and other costs incurred during the outbreak of COVID-19.

About Hagens Berman

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with nine offices across the country. The firm’s tenacious drive for plaintiffs’ rights has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” and MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.


Ashley Klann

Release Summary

Washington University in St. Louis is named in a class-action lawsuit filed by a student seeking repayment amid COVID-19, according to Hagens Berman.


Ashley Klann