EUGENE, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A student filed a class-action lawsuit against the University of Oregon, its president and its board of trustees, demanding repayment for tuition and other mandatory fees citing the university’s response to COVID-19, according to attorneys at Hagens Berman representing the proposed class.
The lawsuit was filed Mar. 19, 2021, in the Circuit Court for the state of Oregon, Multnomah County, and accuses the university of breach of contract and unjust enrichment. The law firm representing the student has also brought similar lawsuits against Boston University, Brandeis University, Brown University, Emory University, George Washington University, Harvard University, Hofstra University, University of Miami, New York University, Oregon State University, Pepperdine University, Quinnipiac University, Rutgers University, University of Southern California, Vanderbilt University, University of Washington and Washington University in St. Louis for failure to repay tuition-payers for their losses.
“College students pay universities for libraries, gyms, campus facilities, activities, in-person access to professors and other hands-on experiences,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and attorney for students in the class action. “The University of Oregon, we believe, has unfairly continued to charge tuition payers for all of the things they were not allowed to experience and use during the COVID-19 campus closure and switch to online classes.”
“Traditionally, online classes alone significantly lower the cost of higher education,” Berman added. “And these tuition payers lost that benefit, along with many others.”
“Perhaps because it has long taken pride in and marketed its unique on-campus academic experience, Oregon has been relatively hesitant to develop online courses and programs or online-only programs. Oregon does not offer a fully online undergraduate degree program,” the lawsuit states. “Online-only courses must be affirmatively selected, distinct from the in-person, on-campus education experience chosen by the vast majority of Oregon students.”
During its campus closure, the University of Oregon charged the following for full-time tuition for the Spring 2020 term: $4,986 to $9,745 for residents and $8,937 to $13,487 for nonresidents, in addition to more than one thousand dollars in various fees.
The suit states that students “paid Defendants for on-campus courses and the unique opportunities that come with them, including the ability to communicate directly with professors, utilize campus facilities and laboratories, attend office hours, and work through issues in-person. However, following the campus closure and transition to online courses, these benefits disappeared.”
Attorneys say this amounts to the University of Oregon not providing what tuition payers contracted it for – on-campus courses and programs.
Other Affected Universities
Hagens Berman is investigating the rights of those who are currently paying for tuition and fees at all U.S. colleges and universities that have been forced to close and offer online only courses due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Despite orders from colleges and universities sending students home and offering only online courses, these institutions of higher learning continued to charge full tuition and fees. Collectively, these institutions are continuing to receive millions from students despite their inability to continue school as normal, or occupy campus buildings and/or dorms.
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with 10 offices worldwide. The firm’s tenacious drive for plaintiffs’ rights has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” 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.