Suffolk University No Refunds for Covid-19 Closure Class Action

If a university closes it campus to prevent the spread of Covid-19, does it owe its students refunds on tuition and fees, even if it still provides them with credit for the academic semester? That’s the question a number of class actions are asking these days. In this case, the school is Suffolk University, located in Boston, Massachusetts.

Suffolk University seems to recognize the value of in-person, on-campus learning. The complaint quotes it as saying, in part, in the portion of its website for its mission statement, “Suffolk University will be a leader in experiential learning … providing students access to real-world and global learning opportunities through outstanding academic and co-curricular programs and partnerships that take full advantage of our borderless, urban campuses in Boston and Madrid.”

Suffolk previously offered online classes, but it charged significantly less for it, for example, $1,519 per credit hour for its on-campus MBA program but only $1,171 per identical credit hour for its online classes.

The plaintiff in this case, Julia Durbeck, was a full-time student in the biology program at Suffolk during the Spring 2020 semester.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the school announced, on March 11, 2020, during its spring break, that it would extend the break by two days and then move all classes online for the rest of the semester. Suffolk asked students not to return to the campus except where special circumstances pertained. After that, the school closed its health center, laid off non-essential staff, suspended most in-person student services, and closed its libraries.

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. They have also paid fees for things like student activities, campus speakers, and access to the health center.

Suffolk has said that because students will still receive academic credit for the semester, it will not make refunds for the closure of its campuses.

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 in Suffolk University for the Spring 2020 semester who were denied live, in-person instruction and forced to use online 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 Suffolk University for the Spring 2020 semester.
Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Suffolk University No Refunds for Covid-19 Closure Complaint

May 21, 2020

If a university closes it campus to prevent the spread of Covid-19, does it owe its students refunds on tuition and fees, even if it still provides them with credit for the academic semester? That’s the question a number of class actions are asking these days. In this case, the school is Suffolk University, located in Boston, Massachusetts.

Suffolk University No Refunds for Covid-19 Closure Complaint

Case Event History

Suffolk University No Refunds for Covid-19 Closure Complaint

May 21, 2020

If a university closes it campus to prevent the spread of Covid-19, does it owe its students refunds on tuition and fees, even if it still provides them with credit for the academic semester? That’s the question a number of class actions are asking these days. In this case, the school is Suffolk University, located in Boston, Massachusetts.

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