09/26/23 | Court Certifies Class and Appoints Hagens Berman Co-Class Counsel
In an order dated Sept. 26, 2023, U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee denied Pepperdine’s motion to exclude testimony of plaintiffs’ expert and granted class certification in the ongoing case for students enrolled in spring 2020 classes. The order allows the class action to continue on behalf of all students who paid or were obligated to pay tuition, fees, or other costs to Pepperdine University for the spring 2020 academic term. The order also appointed Hagens Berman as co-class counsel in the lawsuit. Read the order ».

Case Status
Class Certified
Case Caption
In Re Pepperdine University Tuition and Fees COVID-19 Refund Litigation
Co-Class Counsel
Practice Areas
U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Western Division
Case Number
Pepperdine University College
File Date


The lawsuit highlights that Pepperdine University touts its location and campus as a major selling point to potential students, as well as its promise to develop “the next generation of leaders through rigorous academics, faculty mentorship, and a robust campus life,” with benefits including small classes, campus environment and individual attention from “teacher-mentors.” Pepperdine requires its first and second-year students to live on campus.

The parent bringing the lawsuit, a Texas resident, lost much of what he paid for in his son’s tuition, the suit says.

“With Pepperdine’s campus closure and transition to an online-only educational experience, Plaintiff’s son suffered a decreased quality of experience, education, and lost access to important university facilities and experiences that were bargained for by selecting in-person experiences,” it reads, adding that the student lost access to libraries, in-person professor office hours and more.

As of June 30, 2019, Defendant’s endowment totaled approximately $887.46 million and the university ended the fiscal year with assets totaling more than $1.96 billion, the lawsuit states. In 2017, Defendant raised $562,049 in just 37 hours for the inaugural Give2Pepp campaign. For its spring 2020 semester, Pepperdine cost tuition payers $27,820 for tuition, approximately $7,835 for room and board and $126 for a campus life fee.


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 $320 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 this 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' legal team. In no case will any class member ever be asked to pay any out-of-pocket sum.


Class Certification Granted

Nationwide Investigation

Hagens Berman is investigating universities and colleges across the nation and is seeking to represent students, parents and guardians against any higher education institution that has failed to repay losses due to COVID-19.

Attorneys' investigation includes all colleges and universities nationwide, and the firm is seeking to represent students, parents and guardians regardless of school.

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