US College students, booted off campus by the coronavirus, are engaging in litigation against their colleges.
Students have sued over 50 schools, demanding partial tuition, room-and-board and fee refunds after they shut down.
These lawsuits target some of the biggest names in higher education: state public colleges like the University of California and Arizona State, as well as private institutions such as Columbia, Cornell and New York University.
In-person lectures and tutorials have been replaced with online college programs that often cost less and many researchers, students and professors believe are less effective and less valuable.
Given the drastic disruptions to higher education, many students are now asking for their money back.
The suits claim that students have paid for services they’re no longer receiving, such as physical interaction with professors, access to campus facilities and hands-on learning, as well as mandatory fees for activities, athletics and wellness programs that they can no longer participate in.
“I am missing out on everything that Drexel’s campus has to offer — from libraries, the gym, computer labs, study rooms and lounges, dining halls,” said Rickenbaker, 21, who is suing for a partial refund as he works remotely from his home in Charleston, South Carolina. Drexel University in Philadelphia charges over $50,000 in tuition and another $16,000 in room, board and other fees every year.
The United States consistently tops global rankings in the cost of higher education. Student loan debt is also a growing concern with total debt reaching a record $1.6 trillion in 2020.