Sent Home to Contain CCP Virus, Students Seek Refunds

March 31, 2020 Updated: April 1, 2020

Students at three major Arizona universities have initiated a class-action lawsuit seeking pro-rated refunds for tuition and housing now that instruction has shifted online and students have been forced to leave campus residences in an effort to contain the CCP virus.

Students across the country have complained about a lack of refunds or what they say are inadequate refunds, and more lawsuits against the nation’s institutions of higher learning may come.

The Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR), which administers the state’s three major public universities—Arizona State University, University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University—was named as a defendant in the legal action, Campus Reform reported.

The ABOR hadn’t responded to a request for comment from The Epoch Times as of press time.

“I’m glad a class action lawsuit has been filed, but disheartened [that a] lawsuit is needed to force ABOR to address this dire situation,” a group called Refund ASU Students told Campus Reform.

Refund ASU Students wrote on Twitter that students at Arizona State pay $71.32 per day for services that are now unavailable because of the containment efforts. That works out to $855.90 since “all classes went online.”

Officials from Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University told local media they were currently unable to give students refunds, but University of Arizona officials say credit will be given to students for the unused portion of their room and board packages.

In an interview with the Arizona Republic, Arizona State University President Michael Crow said: “We’re offering full service. We’ll sort out [refunds] at some point, but we’re not going to sort it out now. That’s like 48th on a list of 48 things.”

The news comes a week after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced her agency will halt for at least 60 days collection actions and garnishments of wages for student loan debtors who have fallen behind in payments. The department has directed the Treasury Department not to deduct the missing payments from federal payments such as income tax refunds and Social Security payments. Ascendium, a major student loan guarantor, followed suit, saying said it would stop intercepting federal payments for a minimum of 60 days, according to Inside Higher Ed.

Students in academic programs who they say are ill-suited for all-online instruction are demanding some of their money back. Hands-on studio work is essential to art programs, they say.

More than 100 students at Yale University’s School of Art are demanding partial tuition refunds after instruction in the Master of Fine Arts program went online, The Art Newspaper reports. Tuition at the school for the current academic year was reportedly $39,924.

“We are deeply troubled by the far-reaching repercussions of this event, which has tangible and unfathomable implications for our physical and mental health, financial security, professional careers, housing and immigration status,” the students wrote in a letter of complaint to Yale President Peter Salovey and Marta Kuzma, dean of the School of Art.

“In light of these circumstances, we believe that financial reimbursement must play a part in the university’s forthcoming actions.”

After students at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts asked for a refund, management there responded with a homemade dance video, Art Net reported. One year of tuition for full-time Tisch students is $60,994 for commuters and $77,236 for students residing in university housing.

The school’s dean, choreographer Allyson Green, appears in the video that begins with her shrugging, followed by a dance around what appears to be her office while accompanied by the song “Losing My Religion” by REM.

Student Michael Price told NBC News the video was “tone deaf.”

Students at the School of Visual Arts in New York and the Baltimore-based Maryland Institute College of Art have initiated petitions demanding partial tuition refunds. After the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia stated its Hong Kong campus will remain shuttered, students there also called for partial refunds.