Rutgers pays out pandemic lawsuit settlement: Barely covers cost of textbook
NEW BRUNSWICK — Rutgers University has settled a lawsuit filed by a parent who objected to paying full tuition and fees for in-person, on-campus learning during the spring 2020 semester when all instruction went online.
The university was forced to shut most in-person learning at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 by an executive order from Gov. Phil Murphy, prompting many students to leave campus. Students were charged the same tuition as if they attended classes normally.
A parent who paid the full tuition filed the class action lawsuit said that the school reaped all the financial benefits while his daughter was denied a "comprehensive academic experience" that included in-person events, classes, programs and face-to-face meetings with faculty, according to the complaint.
In an agreement reached in October, Rutgers agreed to pay $5 million, which will be divided between roughly 59,000 students who paid full tuition for the semester. That works out to $63 per person.
Rutgers admits no wrongdoing
A website created about the settlement said active students will receive a credit on their next tuition bill while inactive students will receive a check. Students can opt out of the settlement, change their payment option or object to the settlement and request a hearing.
Those who accept payment from the settlement give up the right to their own legal action against the university over the issues raised in the lawsuit.
The university denies any wrongdoing in reaching the settlement.
A Rutgers spokeswoman said the university had no comment about the settlement.
The firm of Hagens Berman has similar lawsuits pending against 18 other colleges including New York University, Harvard, Boston University and Quinnipiac.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ