LOCAL NEWS

UW grad student seeks repayment for tuition, fees paid during COVID closure

Sep 17, 2020, 5:27 AM | Updated: 7:31 am
uw, campus, tuition, SAT ACT...
Students at the University of Washington in March 2020. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

The University of Washington, its board of regents, and its president have been hit with a lawsuit over the response to the pandemic.

The lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court on Wednesday demands repayment of tuition and fees that the university continued to collect after closing the campus and moving to online classes due to COVID-19.

“Despite sending students home, transitioning to online instruction, and closing its campuses, University of Washington continued to charge for tuition and/or fees as if nothing changed, continuing to reap the financial benefit of millions of dollars from students,” the complaint reads.

The plaintiff — a grad student at UW — says he paid the university for “opportunities and services that he did not receive, including on-campus education, facilities, services, and activities.”

Hagens Berman, the law firm representing the student, has brought similar lawsuits against other universities across the country for failure to repay tuition-payers for their losses.

“Our Seattle-based law firm includes many individuals who call UW their alma mater, and while we understand the unforeseen limitations the pandemic has placed on institutions of higher learning, we believe UW’s community and its students deserve better,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and attorney for students in the class action. “It is our hope that through this litigation, UW can come to recognize its responsibility for tuition-payers and the ways in which it has failed to deliver what it promised them.”

UW plans to have students back on campus, in dorms this fall

In response, UW says it had to cancel in-person classes to comply with state orders, and that students have been allowed to reconsider their enrollment without penalty. Additionally, the university says that the pandemic-related changes and online learning have led to greater costs for the school.

Victor Balta, UW’s Senior Director of Media Relations, sent the following statement to KIRO Radio:

We understand and share the frustration and disappointment that students and their families are experiencing as we navigate the unprecedented limitations presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic required an immediate shift to online instruction for the final two weeks of the winter quarter. The move to largely remote operations was consistent with orders from the Governor restricting the types of activities that were allowable at institutions of higher education and elsewhere, in the interest of public health and safety. The University was clear in its communications with students and their families that the entire spring quarter, summer sessions – and the coming fall quarter – would continue to require that the vast majority of classes and experiences would be remote, providing students time to reconsider their enrollment without penalty. The University will not provide any comment on pending litigation.

The move to online instruction has actually increased our investment in instructional costs. We continue to pay faculty and staff for their work, and at the same time are making existing and new services available online and investing in new technological capabilities as we serve students remotely and support the UW community in these extraordinary times.

KIRO Radio’s Hanna Scott contributed to this report.

Local News

return schools, seattle...
MyNorthwest Staff

Seattle council urges school levy support ahead of February special elections

With King County special elections slated for Feb. 8, Seattle City Council is urging voters to pass two Seattle Public Schools tax levies.
6 hours ago
trash...
MyNorthwest Staff

Kent seeks refunds for missed trash pickups as collection resumes for Western Washington

Trash collection worker solidarity strikes ended Tuesday for Western Washington as Republic Services ratifies a new contract with Teamsters.
1 day ago
COVID-19 deaths, Snohomish County...
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

‘Occupancy is virtually 100%’: Just one available ICU bed in all of Snohomish County

As of Tuesday morning, there is only one intensive care bed available in all of Snohomish County, as hospitals continue to feel the strain.
1 day ago
King County COVID...
Nick Bowman

King County COVID cases finally trending down, but ‘we’re not out of the woods yet’

After soaring to record numbers in January, COVID-19 cases in King County appear to finally be trending in a downward direction.
1 day ago
Rumors camps...
Nick Bowman

UW expert: False rumors about forced quarantine for unvaccinated were ‘strategically amplified’

Rumors claiming that the state would soon be setting up forced quarantines for the unvaccinated spread like wildfire in recent weeks.
1 day ago
vaccination...
MyNorthwest Staff

New mass COVID vaccination site opens in Snohomish County

A new indoor COVID-19 vaccination clinic opens at the Everett Mall on Tuesday, and Snohomish County says a mass testing site is coming soon.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
UW grad student seeks repayment for tuition, fees paid during COVID closure