Cornell University Campus Closure Tuition and Fee Reimbursement Class Action

Like many businesses and other entities, Cornell University has made the decision to close its campus during the coronavirus pandemic and turn to a remote format to continue its operations. However, the complaint for this class action alleges that Cornell students have been deprived of certain benefits for which they have already paid fees or tuition. According to the complaint Cornell has refused to provide adequate reimbursement of these payments.

Cornell is not a poor institution. According to the complaint, it has an estimated endowment of $7.3 billion. The complaint alleges that the university might be eligible for funds through the CARES Act, which “directs that approximately $14 billion dollars be distributed to colleges and universities based upon enrollment and requires that institutions must use at least half the funds they receive to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to Covid-19.”

The plaintiff in this case, Alec Faber, is a student at Cornell. The university suspended classes on March 13, 2020 and required that students leave campus as soon as possible, at least by March 29 except for those for whom an exception was made.

“While closing campus and transitioning to online classes was the right thing for [Cornell] to do,” the complaint claims, “the decision deprived [Faber] and the other members of the Class from recognizing the benefits of in-person instruction, meals, access to campus facilities, student activities, and other benefits and services in exchange for which they had already paid fees and tuition.”

The complaint lays out the advantages to Faber and others of in-person classes, such as “[f]ace-to-face interaction with professors, mentors, and peers” and “[a]ccess to facilities such as computer labs, study rooms, laboratories, libraries, etc.” In addition, it says Faber paid a student activity fee, a membership fee to the Cornell Fitness Center, and a meal-plan fee for on-campus dining. He is no longer able to enjoy the benefits of any of these things.

As to refunds for these things, the complaint says, Cornell “has either refused to provide reimbursement for the tuition, meals, fees and other costs that [Cornell] is no longer providing, or has provided inadequate and/or arbitrary reimbursement that does not fully compensate [Faber] and members of the Class for their loss.”

The complaint alleges breaches of contract and unjust enrichment.

Three classes have been defined for this action.

  • The Tuition Class is all people who paid tuition for or on behalf of students enrolled in classes at Cornell for the Spring 2020 semester but were denied live, in-person instruction and forced to use online distance learning platforms for the latter portion of the semester.
  • The Fees Class is all people who paid fees for or on behalf of students enrolled in classes at Cornell for the Spring 2020 semester.
  • The Meals Class is all people who paid costs for or on behalf of students for meals and on-campus dining at Cornell for the Spring 2020 semester.
Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Cornell University Campus Closure Tuition and Fee Reimbursement Complaint

April 25, 2020

Like many businesses and other entities, Cornell University has made the decision to close its campus during the coronavirus pandemic and turn to a remote format to continue its operations. However, the complaint for this class action alleges that Cornell students have been deprived of certain benefits for which they have already paid fees or tuition. According to the complaint Cornell has refused to provide adequate reimbursement of these payments.

Cornell University Campus Closure Tuition and Fee Reimbursement Complaint

Case Event History

Cornell University Campus Closure Tuition and Fee Reimbursement Complaint

April 25, 2020

Like many businesses and other entities, Cornell University has made the decision to close its campus during the coronavirus pandemic and turn to a remote format to continue its operations. However, the complaint for this class action alleges that Cornell students have been deprived of certain benefits for which they have already paid fees or tuition. According to the complaint Cornell has refused to provide adequate reimbursement of these payments.

Cornell University Campus Closure Tuition and Fee Reimbursement Complaint
Tags: Education, Failure To Pay For Refund, Reduction in Services Facilities or the Like