Roger Williams University No Refunds for Covid-19 Closure Class Action

This is one of a number of recent class actions bringing suit against universities for tuition refunds after the schools closed their campuses to prevent the spread of Covid-19. In this case, Roger Williams University (RWU) closed its campus on March 11, 2020, telling students not to return to campus from their spring break.

The university, which is located in Bristol, Rhode Island, canceled all student organization travel and all events with fifty or more attendees. It also told students who were living on campus that they must vacate their dorms, unless exceptional circumstances required otherwise.

At that time, the complaint says, students “were deprived of a full week of instruction of any format.”

RWU, as quoted in the complaint, seems to promote the value of an on-campus learning experience. A section of its website entitled “Core Values” says, “Engaged. We collaborate with one another and with constituencies outside the University to promote individual learning and to help address community needs.” Also, it says, “Experiential. We provide an educational environment that bridges theory and practice, enhancing the ability of students to fulfill their potential and to contribute to society.”

In fact, the school offers online education, but charges far less for it: the complaint claims that before the Covid-19 epidemic hit, RWU charged $1,527 per standard undergraduate credit hour on campus and $433 per credit hour online.

Plaintiff Jeremy Simmons-Telep was an undergraduate at RWU when the school closed, and he claims that his current online classes are not of the same value as his previous on-campus ones. For example, the complaint claims that, of his four classes, “only one is currently being taught live over video conferencing during normal hours. Another class, which was supposed to meet two times per week, is only meeting once per week.”

His other classes consist of “pre-recorded lectures (some only 15-25 minutes) or, in some instances, with no video instruction at all and with assignments simply being posted for self-study completion.”

According to the complaint, students have lost many benefits, including face-to-face interactions with teachers and fellow students; access to computer labs, study rooms, laboratories, and libraries; extra-curricular activities and groups; and hands-on learning experiences, among other things.

The complaint alleges breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

Two classes have been defined for this action:

  • The Tuition Class is all people who paid tuition for or on behalf of students enrolled at RWU for the Spring 2020 semester who 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 RWU for the Spring 2020 semester.
Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Roger Williams University No Refunds for Covid-19 Closure Complaint

May 21, 2020

This is one of a number of recent class actions bringing suit against universities for tuition refunds after the schools closed their campuses to prevent the spread of Covid-19. In this case, Roger Williams University (RWU) closed its campus on March 11, 2020, telling students not to return to campus from their spring break.

Roger Williams University No Refunds for Covid-19 Closure Complaint

Case Event History

Roger Williams University No Refunds for Covid-19 Closure Complaint

May 21, 2020

This is one of a number of recent class actions bringing suit against universities for tuition refunds after the schools closed their campuses to prevent the spread of Covid-19. In this case, Roger Williams University (RWU) closed its campus on March 11, 2020, telling students not to return to campus from their spring break.

Roger Williams University No Refunds for Covid-19 Closure Complaint
Tags: Education, Failure To Pay For Refund