UNION, NJ — A Kean University student has filed a class-action lawsuit against the school asking for a tuition refund after the school campus closed due to the coronavirus.
Athena Brock-Murray, a full-time undergraduate student at Kean and Atlantic City resident, filed the lawsuit on behalf of herself and other students in Union County Superior Court on May 13. The lawsuit is class-action, meaning that anyone can join the suit.
“These cases are about basic fairness. Colleges and universities are not unlike any other business in America and they too have to tighten their belts during this unprecedented time. They are not any more entitled to keep money for services they are not delivering than the mom and pop bakery on Main Street,” stated Roy Willey, a class action attorney with the Anastopoulo Law Firm representing the Brock-Murray and students.
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The suit argues that while closing campus and transitioning to online classes was the right thing for Kean University to do, this decision deprived Brock-Murray and other students from getting the benefits of in-person instruction, access to campus facilities, student activities, and other benefits and services in exchange for which they had already paid fees and tuition.
“Students and their families have pre-paid tuition and fees for services, access to facilities and experiential education and the universities and colleges are not delivering those services, access or experiences. Now universities are not delivering those services that students and their families have paid for and it’s not fair for the universities with multi-million dollar endowments to keep all of the money that students and their families have paid. It is not fair to pass the full burden onto students and their families,” Willey said.
Kean University argued students still received services when they switched to online instructions and tuition will not be refunded.
“Like all other educational institutions in the state, Kean was required to cease in-person instruction by a government order to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. The students will not receive tuition refunds because the University immediately shifted to remote education for all coursework, ensuring students would continue to earn credits and remain on a timely path to graduation. Not only did the University establish a number of support services to provide technology and other resources to students, it waived late payment fees and established new scholarships to support students and their families during this difficult time,” said Kean University Director of Media Relations Margaret McCorry.
The Spring 2020 semester was supposed to end on May 13, but was instead cut short on March 18 when Gov. Phil Murphy ordered all colleges to close due to the coronavirus.
The lawsuit also points to a petition created right after the school closure by students with more than 2,000 signatures demanding a refund in tuition.
According to the lawsuit, Kean is also eligible to receive federal stimulus under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act where about $14 billion will be distributed to colleges and universities.
Parents of students at Rutgers University have also filed a class-action lawsuit against the school this week for a refund of tuition. Read More: Parent Sues Rutgers, Demanding Tuition Refund Due To Coronavirus
Read below for the entire class-action lawsuit against Kean:
Read more: NJ Coronavirus Updates: Here’s What You Need To Know
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