Pepperdine University No Refunds for Campus Closure Class Action

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many colleges and universities have chosen to close their campuses and take their classes online to slow the spread of the virus. The complaint for this class action alleges that when Pepperdine University closed its campus, students lost a good deal of what they’d paid for, in tuition, housing, face-to-face contact, and other resources—and that Pepperdine therefore ought to give students refunds. Pepperdine has not done so.

The class for this action is all people paying Pepperdine, in whole or in part, for themselves or on behalf of others, Spring 2020 tuition, fees, or room and board for in-person instruction and use of campus facilities, but who were denied use of or access to that in-person instruction or campus facilities by Pepperdine.

Like many schools, Pepperdine University touts the value of its on-campus education. Its websites speaks of its “small classes, a nurturing campus environment, opportunities for diverse social interaction, and individual attention from these teacher-mentors…” Even the location is considered an asset, giving students “access to nearby beaches for surfing, fishing, and boating.”

The complaint quotes the website as saying, “Living on campus in Malibu … is the best way to experience all the transformational academic, social, and spiritual growth that a college lifestyle has to offer. The relationships and sense of community developed during these years are crucial to the college experience, particularly with a dynamic environment that promotes fellowship and unity through social events, mentorship programs, service projects, and other group activities.”

Plaintiff Joseph Pinzon’s son is a graduate student at Pepperdine. For the Spring 2020 semester, he was charged $27,820 for tuition, around $7,835 for room and board, and $126 as a campus life fee. If the student is not covered by a family insurance plan, the school charges another $1,320.99 for student health insurance.

This is considerably more than online schools charge, the complaint says: For example, Western Governor’s University charges $3,370 per term, and Southern New Hampshire University charges $960 per undergraduate course and $1,881 per graduate course.

As Covid-19 appeared in the US and spread rapidly, states began imposing orders restricting the actions of people and businesses. This included California Governor Gavin Newsom’s March 19, 2020 stay-at-home order.

Classes on the Pepperdine campus ended on March 13, 2020, and went online from March 16. Students were asked to vacate campus housing by 3:00 on March 15. On that same day, Pepperdine decided to close its campus.

The complaint quotes statements by students at various other schools that also had campus closures alleging that the move to online classes delivered less than the full on-campus experience had. Students lose access to housing, libraries, and other facilities and resources.

According to the complaint, “While [Pepperdine] has agreed to prorate housing and dining, the proration was inconsistent among [its] five schools.” And Pepperdine still refuses to prorate or refund tuition or other mandatory fees. Pepperdine has also announced that tuition for Pinzon’s son’s Fall 2020 semester will increase by 3.8%.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Pepperdine University No Refunds for Campus Closure Complaint

June 3, 2020

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many colleges and universities have chosen to close their campuses and take their classes online to slow the spread of the virus. The complaint for this class action alleges that when Pepperdine University closed its campus, students lost a good deal of what they’d paid for, in tuition, housing, face-to-face contact, and other resources—and that Pepperdine therefore ought to give students refunds. Pepperdine has not done so.

Pepperdine University No Refunds for Campus Closure Complaint

Case Event History

Pepperdine University No Refunds for Campus Closure Complaint

June 3, 2020

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many colleges and universities have chosen to close their campuses and take their classes online to slow the spread of the virus. The complaint for this class action alleges that when Pepperdine University closed its campus, students lost a good deal of what they’d paid for, in tuition, housing, face-to-face contact, and other resources—and that Pepperdine therefore ought to give students refunds. Pepperdine has not done so.

Pepperdine University No Refunds for Campus Closure Complaint
Tags: Covid-19 Related, Education, Failure To Pay For Refund