Harvard Settles COVID Tuition Reimbursement Class Action Lawsuit

The Harvard Memorial Hall, at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
(Photo credit: Jon Bilous/Shutterstock)


  • to remote classes, according
  • Massachusetts federal court, the
  • Details of the agreement were not immediately available.
  • their Harvard tuition, claiming
  • dismissed the claims, saying
  • The case is one of several across the country in which students have filed for compensation after paying full college fees and instead receiving an online experience during the pandemic.

(October 9, 2020)

should be dismissed, according

The motion is the latest filing in a student class action lawsuit to get their Harvard tuition reimbursed, which initially began with at least three different lawsuits in May.

earlier this year, claiming

The students’ legal initiative to get their Harvard tuition reimbursed joins dozens of other class-action lawsuits related to the coronavirus. class action lawsuits related to the coronavirus in all the country.

Plaintiff Sarah Zelasky was the first student to demand tuition reimbursement when Harvard University closed its campus to “virtual learning” on May 23.

during this time, they

the following months, plaintiffs

and peer interaction, separated

“Harvard, of course, shares

on this theory, every

made a promise, contractual

“Harvard’s decision to move to distance learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic was well within the discretion granted Harvard by its student handbooks and Massachusetts law to adapt curricula,” the motion stated.

Harvard explains how, after

“plaintiffs here had, but

to the motion, “under

in their motion, asserting

cites case law, specifically

The court filing further asserts that the students do not “identify” any specific details about “the contractual promise that Harvard allegedly breached.”

The “plaintiff must describe with specificity what obligations the alleged contract imposed on each of the parties” and “the specific contractual promise that the defendant failed to fulfill,” the Harvard officials said.

The motion states that “Harvard has always retained the authority to modify its academic programs to accommodate unforeseeable circumstances.”

Harvard also addresses allegations of unjust enrichment of students in the motion. The motion says that the precedents show that these “claims fail when … the relationship of the parties is governed by a contract and the plaintiffs seek only damages for an alleged breach of that contract.”

In addition, Harvard argues that the students’ claims to “convert” their Harvard tuition are invalid because the educational services are not “tangible assets” and the claimants cannot identify “specific funds” but instead “intend to recover value of education in person”.

The motion also argues that there is “no basis” to refund Harvard tuition for “any future semester.”

precedent makes clear, students

Have you enrolled in an in-person university that has switched to online classes since the coronavirus outbreak? Let us know in the comments.

v. Harvard University, Case

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