Oregon State University Hit by Class-Action Lawsuit Seeking Tuition and Fee Repayment Amid COVID-19 Switch to Online Education at OSU
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Students at Oregon State University filed a class-action lawsuit against OSU and its board of trustees, demanding repayment for tuition and other mandatory fees citing the university’s COVID-19 campus closure and transition to online learning, according to attorneys at Hagens Berman representing the proposed class.
The lawsuit was filed Mar. 5, 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, Pepperdine University, Quinnipiac University, Rutgers University, University of Oregon, University of Southern California, Vanderbilt University, University of Washington and Washington University in St. Louis for failure to repay tuition-payers for their losses.
“So much of a college student’s educational experience involves hands-on, in-person access to campus events, facilities, instruction and collaboration,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and attorney for students in the class action. “We believe that when OSU closed its campus, transitioning to online-only classes, it barred tuition payers from the very things they paid for, and in our opinion, they deserve repayment.”
The complaint reads, “Despite sending students home, transitioning to online instruction, and closing its
campuses, Oregon State University continued to charge for tuition, and/or fees as if nothing changed, continuing to reap the financial benefit of millions of dollars from students. OSU did so
despite students’ complete inability to continue school as normal, occupy campus buildings and
dormitories, or avail themselves of school programs and events.”
The students bringing the lawsuit states that they paid OSU for “opportunities and services they did not receive, including on-campus education, facilities, services, and activities.”
“Plaintiffs applied to the University and accepted its offer of admission understanding that it constituted an offer for in-person classes for the duration of the undergraduate or graduate period for which they were offered enrollment,” according to the lawsuit. “While Plaintiffs could have pursued their degrees exclusively online, they instead specifically selected an on-campus experience for the variety of educational and extracurricular opportunities and benefits that only an in-person program can provide.”
The lawsuit highlights that the plaintiffs enrolled to obtain in-person, on-campus instruction including ability to attend professors’ office hours and access campus amenities and faculty mentorship.
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. This may include parents, guardians or college students who are paying for their own costs of college.
Despite orders from colleges and universities sending students home and offering only online courses, these institutions of higher learning continued to charge for 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.
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About Hagens Berman
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.