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University of Delaware Faces Two Lawsuits Over COVID-19 Tuition Refunds


The University of Delaware (UD) is facing a second lawsuit demanding tuition refunds due to the transition to online classes. The complaint cites the university’s failure to give students adequate repayment when in-person classes were canceled. 

The lawsuit states that students paid more for physical classes and necessary campus amenities. But since the pandemic lockdown created sudden restrictions, the university was unable to deliver these services. Therefore, students are owed refunds. The suit argues that if the school does not return the money it will be in breach of contract.

UD has not offered any comment and its attorneys have not filed official responses in court.

Delaware’s First Challenge

In August, the initial lawsuit was made on behalf of Cailin Nigrelli, an applied molecular biology and biotechnology major, Jake Mickey, a marketing major, and Michael Ninivaggi, an accounting and finance major who recently graduated.

“The online classes that UD provided were not even remotely worth what the school charged for the full Spring Semester 2020 tuition,” the lawsuit noted.

As the university charged more for in-person education, these students and their parents took out loans and paid over $17,000 each for the spring semester. While some had unused housing and miscellaneous fees returned, there were no tuition refunds. 

The refund that the litigation proposes must be proportionate to the amount of time left in the semester, starting from when normal classes were changed. During this time, the school’s legal representatives asked the court to dismiss the case.

“As a result of the herculean efforts undertaken by the university, the students completed the spring 2020 semester on-time and with full credit hours, while continuing on pace towards their graduation,” the motion stated.

Colleges, Universities Under Fire

Several Ivy League schools and premier public universities are being sued for similar reasons. Enrolled students are demanding refunds after their schools closed or switched to a less expensive alternative. 

These complaints revolve around the belief that the quality of education has decreased in virtual classes. They also cite the loss of campus housing and access to labs, libraries, and other activities that were already paid for.

Brown, Columbia, California State University, Michigan State, Princeton, Purdue, and Syracuse are among the high-profile defendants in these class-action lawsuits.

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