Hagens Berman represented students against Brown University for its failure to repay tuition and fees and costs due to COVID-19. The firm achieved a $1.5 million settlement for the class under which class members will receive automatic, seamless payments.

Case Status
Settlement Amount
$1.5 Million
Practice Areas
U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island
Case Number
Brown University
File Date


Students from Brown University filed a class-action lawsuit against Brown demanding repayment for tuition, room and board and other costs amid COVID-19-related campus closures and residence hall shutdowns. The lawsuit accused the university of breach of contract and unjust enrichment.


According to College Board, published tuition fees for 2018-2019 at state colleges are an average of $10,230 for state residents, and $26,290 for everyone else. This compares to an average of $35,830 at private non-profit colleges. On average, during the 2017-2018 school year, students spent $10,800 on room and board at public four-year institutions. At private non-profit four-year colleges and universities, the average cost goes up to $12,210.


Hagens Berman is one of the most successful consumer litigation law firms in the U.S. and has achieved more than $325 billion in settlements for consumers in lawsuits against food corporations, automakers, big banks and others. The firm has successfully taken on higher learning institutions as well, achieving hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements for students and alumnae to support campus safety and students' rights. Hagens Berman has achieved many record-breaking victories in antitrust matters, and your claim will be handled by attorneys experienced in consumer law.


There is no cost or fee whatsoever involved in joining a similar case. In the event Hagens Berman or any other firm obtains a settlement that provides benefits to class members, the court will decide a reasonable fee to be awarded to the class’s legal team. In no case will any class member ever be asked to pay any out-of-pocket sum.


Settlement Granted Final Approval

District of Rhode Island Chief Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. granted final approval of a $1.5 million settlement on behalf of Brown University students on Jan. 10, 2023, culminating the firm’s efforts on behalf of all students who were enrolled at Brown University for the spring 2020 semester as of Mar. 6, 2020. Under the settlement structure negotiated by Hagens Berman’s attorneys, all class members will automatically receive payment from the settlement award, meaning there will be no claim forms needed for class members to receive their portion of the settlement. In his order granting final approval of the settlement, Judge McConnell called it “automatic and effective,” and there were no objections from the class. At the hearing, Judge McConnell thanked both sides and the firm’s attorneys for their advocacy on behalf of the class. The firm continues to represent students in pending litigation against other colleges and universities.

Preliminary Approval Granted

On Sept. 6, 2022, the court granted preliminary approval of a $1.5 million settlement. A final approval hearing is scheduled for Jan. 10, 2023. Key dates for class members and other important information can be found at the settlement website: brownuniversitysettlement.com. 

Settlement Agreement Reached

Amended Complaint filed


Complaint filed

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