Court Approves Settlement in Columbia University COVID-19 Tuition Refund Class-Action

By: 
Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP
Published on:
March 25, 2022

Kaplan Hecker & Fink is pleased to announce that a federal court has granted final approval of the settlement between our client, Columbia University, and the representatives of a class of approximately 28,000 students who brought claims for tuition and fee refunds related to the transition to remote education due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The lawsuit was originally filed in June 2020 and is one of hundreds of similar cases that have been brought against colleges and universities across the country.

In February 2021, U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman granted in part Columbia’s motion to dismiss the action, dismissing seven of eight claims – including all claims for tuition refunds – and leaving only one claim for breach of contract related to certain fees paid by the students. Following the court’s decision on the motion to dismiss, and after months of negotiations, a favorable settlement was reached in November 2021.

On March 24, 2022, Judge Furman granted final approval of the parties’ settlement, which provides thousands of Columbia students a fee refund for Spring 2020 and provides the University with relief from further litigation with the settlement class.

The Kaplan Hecker team on this case was led by partners Roberta A. Kaplan and Gabrielle E. Tenzer.

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