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Student Fee Lawsuits Can Proceed in Delaware, Judge Says

May 20, 2021

Two lawsuits brought by students at the University of Delaware seeking reimbursement for services they said did not receive during the COVID-19 pandemic will not be dismissed.

Many similar claims from students seeking tuition and fee refunds for the unexpected shift to online teaching and limited access to campus facilities last year have been dismissed by judges. But a federal judge, Stephanos Bibas, bucked this trend by refusing to dismiss the claims against Delaware.

“At a minimum, the fee claims are going to survive and proceed to discovery here,” Bibas said, according to the Associated Press.

Attorneys for the University of Delaware argued the lawsuits failed to identify any specific contractual promise that was broken by the university during the spring 2020 semester and that they should be dismissed.

Representatives for the plaintiffs said the university should not be permitted to keep money for services it failed to deliver, including access to campus facilities and services such as the student health and counseling center.

The judge said it is unlikely the contractual terms relating to tuition were specific enough to be enforceable, but he indicated “at least the fees portion of the suit will survive.”

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