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Getting What You Pay For: College Reimbursements in the Wake of COVID-19

Should My College Refund Me Since Classes are Online and No One is Living on Campus?

College is expensive. Tuition and everything that comes with living away from home can add up. Room and board alone can cost a student tens of thousands of dollars.[1] And now, in the wake of the COVID-19 health crisis, students may be getting shortchanged.

Many colleges and universities across the country have moved to online courses and have closed dorms in the last month. Students who previously lived in on-campus housing and relied on school meal plans are being forced to leave. As a result, students are not receiving the housing, meals, or other on-campus services for which they prepaid. This can cause great hardship for students who depended on school room and board.

Some colleges and universities are providing partial or prorated refunds.[2] Others have adjusted their refund policies in response to student demands.[3] Yet, others still may be refusing to provide refunds all together.  This is not only unfair, but it also may be illegal.

Students may be able to take legal action to seek a refund depending on the circumstances. In fact, students recently have started to file lawsuits for breach of contract and other claims related to their payments for room and board.

If you are wondering whether you may have a legal claim to a refund or would like more information, please contact us at intake@nka.com or by phone at 877.448.0492. We remain dedicated to protecting and advancing the rights of students and other consumers.

This article is meant to be informative and is not legal advice. Please note that state, federal, and local laws and regulations will continue to evolve as this pandemic continues. If you have questions, Nichols Kaster strongly suggests you consult an attorney.


[1] See Katie Lobosco, “You’ll probably pay at least $57,000 to send your kid to college,” CNN Money, (May 1, 2017).

[2] See Emma Whitford, “Coronavirus Closures Pose Refund Quandary,” Inside Higher Ed (March 13, 2020

[3] See Emma Kerr, “COVID-19 Closed Dorms. Will Students Get a Refund?” U.S. News & World Report (April 8, 2020).

Photo by Changbok Ko on Unsplash