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Students from Long Island University, Columbia University and Pace University are continuing their schools to reimburse part of their tuition and tuition fees after the coronavirus forced their classes to move online for the rest of the semester.
Federal lawsuits, seeking class action status, say students who enrolled in in-person courses should be reimbursed for at least part of the spring semester because they don’t receive education and services for which they paid.
Online learning options “are poor in almost every aspect, including the lack of facilities, equipment and access to teachers,” according to the LIU trial, filed by undergraduate student Nicolas Irizarry.
“The distance learning options are by no means the equivalent of the face-to-face education that the plaintiff and putative class members contracted and paid for,” said the LIU trial.
Like most universities in the country, LIU, Columbia and Pace opted for online courses in March, about halfway through the semester, as tests have shown that COVID-19 is starting to become widespread in the United States . Columbia and Pace encouraged all students to leave campus while LIU allows students to stay in their residences, according to their websites.
Tuition fees in schools range from around $ 37,000 to $ 60,000 a year, excluding room, board and other fees, according to their websites.
Columbia and Pace offer certain cost and accommodation reimbursements, with housing reimbursements ranging from $ 1,200 to $ 2,000, according to their websites. Columbia undergraduates pay between $ 8,718 and $ 9,872 per year for campus accommodation, while Pace’s room and board for its New York campus costs $ 20,146 per year.
But the Pace trial said that “the expected reimbursement is both completely arbitrary and totally insufficient”. It covers only about 20% of the plaintiff Xaviera Marbury’s $ 9,380 rent when she was only able to live there for half the semester, he said.
The lawsuits allege that schools improperly withhold money paid for the spring semester and violate their contracts with students. Lawsuits against Pace and Columbia, where semester courses are offered pass / fail, say online courses and a less stringent grading system diminish the value of applicants’ degrees.
Pace spokesperson Marie Boster said that while university officials have not yet been informed of the lawsuit, they continue to provide online university programs and services, including advice mental health, and adjust housing costs for students who have had to leave their residence.
“Pace University, like other colleges and universities around the world, has been forced to adapt quickly to the effects of a pandemic on our institution,” said Boster in a statement. “Pace teachers, staff and leaders continue to work tirelessly to support our students during this difficult time.”
Colombian spokesperson Caroline Adelman said, “We have no comments on this ongoing litigation. “
A LIU representative declined to comment on the ongoing litigation.
The Marbury trial indicated that the US CARES Act will provide colleges with $ 14 billion, including about $ 6.3 billion to students for financial aid.
Pace plans to use the funds to support students once they are available, said Boster.
The LIU website does not mention any refunds on its coronavirus web page. During the next academic year, LIU’s tuition fees will be $ 37,182 per year, room and board will be approximately $ 14,664 per year, and standard fees will be $ 1,954, according to its website. Web.
The three schools with New York campuses have considerable endowments, according to their latest financial reports. Columbia had the largest of the three in 2019 with nearly $ 11 billion while LIU had around $ 230 million and Pace had $ 182 million.