Loading...

American University Students Appeal Tuition Refund Ruling

October 11, 2021 by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON — Three American University students are appealing a ruling that dismissed their lawsuit demanding tuition refunds after the COVID-19 pandemic compelled a transition to online learning.

They argue the university breached a contract and received unjust enrichment after they paid tens of thousands of dollars for in-person education they never received.

Their evidence includes American University’s marketing materials that pledge access to its 90-acre campus and “advantages of a traditional college setting combined with unparalleled access to … our nation’s capital.”

The students also say a catalog offers them participation in more than 150 student clubs and organizations.

“Likewise, the catalog specifically calls all non-online courses ‘standard face-to-face’ courses,” says the students’ brief filed in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.

The lawsuit, which seeks class action status, is one of at least five pending before the D.C. Circuit by students who felt cheated during the Spring 2020 semester as schools nationwide switched to online learning at the height of the pandemic.

Two were filed against George Washington University and others against Howard University and Catholic University. Universities nationwide face similar lawsuits.

All of the universities say the hardship of the pandemic discharged their duty of in-person education. They also deny they breached their contractual duties when students still could earn credits from their online classes.

American University made the same kind of argument in its successful motion to dismiss before the U.S. District Court.

“American did not promise to provide in-person instruction under all circumstances, let alone link such a promise to the payment of tuition or fees,” the motion said. “American’s agreements with its students make clear that tuition and fees are not refundable based on how students are taught or whether they are satisfied with their courses.”

The students’ assertion that in-person education is superior to distance learning is supported by recent state-level Education Department reports.

In one example in Missouri, 90% of kindergarten through 12th grade students participated in a test of educational proficiency last spring, while most schools remained closed because of the pandemic. Test scores declined in all subjects and grades. 

Only 45% of the students were rated as proficient or advanced in English language arts, down four points from 2019. They declined an average of seven points in math, from 42% to 35%.

In science, 37% of students tested proficient or advanced in 2021 compared with 42% in 2019, according to Missouri education officials.

Educators also blame the lack of in-person education for contributing to high levels of stress among students.

Telehealth provider TimelyMD reported in June 2020 that 85% of college students said the pandemic increased their stress and anxiety.

University of North Carolina administrators on Sunday cited mental health for their decision to cancel classes on the Chapel Hill campus Tuesday as police investigated two possible student suicides during the weekend. 

“We are in the middle of a mental health crisis, both on our campus and across the nation, and we are aware that college-aged students carry an increased risk of suicide,” Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz wrote in a letter to students.

He also said the university was organizing a “special support network” to help students cope with anxiety.

The American University lawsuit is Maaz Qureshi et al. v. American University, case number 21-7064, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

A+
a-

Litigation

November 23, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Justice Dept. to Pay $130 Million to High School Shooting Survivors

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that it reached a settlement agreement with family members and survivors... Read More

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that it reached a settlement agreement with family members and survivors of the 2018 high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people. Local media reports say the settlement amount is $130 million. A federal judge... Read More

November 23, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Justice Dept. Intervenes Against Trump In Lawsuit Against Social Media Giants

WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department intervened this week in a lawsuit former President Donald Trump filed against social media companies... Read More

WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department intervened this week in a lawsuit former President Donald Trump filed against social media companies Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube. Trump accuses the companies of violating his First Amendment right to free speech by banning his postings after the Jan. 6... Read More

November 19, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Lawsuit Against Opioid Companies Blames COVID-19 for Aggravating Crisis

SEATTLE — Testimony this week during a civil trial in Seattle could explain why opioid deaths set a record of... Read More

SEATTLE — Testimony this week during a civil trial in Seattle could explain why opioid deaths set a record of more than 100,000 in a year by last April. The class action lawsuit seeks $95 billion in damages against pharmaceutical companies that distribute the powerful painkillers.... Read More

November 16, 2021
by Dan McCue
6th Circuit to Oversee Lawsuits of Employer Vaccination Mandate

WASHINGTON — The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will preside over all litigation stemming from the Biden administration’s decision... Read More

WASHINGTON — The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will preside over all litigation stemming from the Biden administration’s decision to require companies with at least 100 employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation announced Tuesday.  The conservative-leaning... Read More

November 15, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Supreme Court to Hear Worker’s Case to Clarify Arbitration Clause Rights

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a case by a fast-food worker who claims employers have no... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a case by a fast-food worker who claims employers have no right to force arbitration on employees after first contesting the workers' lawsuits in pre-trial proceedings. The Taco Bell worker who sued said her franchisee in Iowa... Read More

November 11, 2021
by Dan McCue
Dominion Voting Systems Files New Defamation Suit Against Fox News

GEORGETOWN, Del. — Dominion Voting Systems filed a new defamation lawsuit against Fox News Thursday, this one focusing on the... Read More

GEORGETOWN, Del. — Dominion Voting Systems filed a new defamation lawsuit against Fox News Thursday, this one focusing on the alleged roles of Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch and his son, Fox CEO and Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch in falsely accusing the company of rigging the... Read More

News From The Well
Exit mobile version