Three Oregon college students are claiming in two class-action lawsuits that they should be reimbursed tuition and other fees since the University of Oregon and Oregon State University transitioned to mostly remote instruction during the coronavirus pandemic.
Undergraduate student Danielle Pranger and graduate student Garrett Harris filed a lawsuit against Oregon State University on March 5, while Caine Smith filed his lawsuit against the University of Oregon on March 19, according to the lawsuits.
Both lawsuits claim that even though students were sent home and campuses were closed, the schools “continued to charge for tuition, and/or fees as if nothing changed, continuing to reap the financial benefit of millions of dollars from students.”
Steve Berman, an attorney for the students in both cases, said his clients did not get the full value of what they paid for when campuses closed and switched to online sessions. The lawsuits claim the schools have refused to refund or reimburse students for tuition and other fees they paid for “a comprehensive on-campus academic experience.”
“Oregon State University has remained open since winter term 2020 during the pandemic on its campuses in Corvallis and at OSU-Cascades in Bend. OSU continues to provide students a high-quality education courses in person, remotely and online,” said Steve Clark, OSU vice president for university relations and marketing.
The University of Oregon issued a statement saying “the lawsuit is wrong on the law and on the facts.” The school said the lawsuit’s claims that the school’s costs have decreased are false.
Students in other states have also filed lawsuits against their schools. In New York, students sued Columbia University, Pace University and Long Island University, making similar arguments that the schools have failed to adequately refund or reimburse students for tuition and other fees they paid to have in-person, on-campus classes and other activities.