NAICU Washington Update

NAICU Joins Brief in Tuition Refund Case

September 02, 2021

Last week NAICU joined an amicus brief in support of New York University (NYU) in a lawsuit seeking a refund of tuition and fees in connection with the university’s decision to move to remote learning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The brief focuses on the enormous costs and revenue losses that institutions faced at the beginning of the pandemic in order to counter the argument that colleges and universities experienced coronavirus-related financial windfalls. 

Initially, a lower court dismissed the lawsuit brought by students and parents who claimed that the university’s failure to refund tuition and fees constituted breach of contract and unjust enrichment. In addition to procedural deficiencies in the case, the court found that NYU had not promised exclusively in-person instruction and therefore had not violated its contract when it moved classes online. The plaintiffs subsequently filed the appeal that is the subject of the brief.

The NYU lawsuit is one of four tuition refund cases that have reached the federal appellate courts. NAICU is also planning to join substantively similar amicus briefs in the other three suits currently on appeal. Those legal challenges involve George Washington University, Loyola University of Chicago, and Baylor University.

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