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Student sues University of Missouri over tuition

The suit seeks class-action status, and says the system has not refunded any tuition, "and refunds for student fees have either been nonexistent or inadequate"
Credit: SLBJ

COLUMBIA, Mo. — An unnamed student has filed a lawsuit against the University of Missouri System, seeking damages tied to tuition costs as its universities switched to online instruction in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The suit, filed Friday in state court in Columbia, seeks class-action status, and says the system has not refunded any tuition, "and refunds for student fees have either been nonexistent or inadequate."

The lawsuit makes the case that refunds were warranted because students "received a diminished educational experience."

"Plaintiff does not challenge (the university's) decision to effectively close its campuses and transition to online-only classes because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the effect of this decision was that Plaintiff and Class members were deprived of the many benefits of the full in-person university experience for which they paid," the suit said. "This includes in-person instruction, access to campus facilities, participation in campus organizations and student activities, and other benefits and services related to the full on-campus experience."

The litigation, from attorney Richard Cornfeld of St. Louis and Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos LLP of Los Angeles, alleges that the university's actions constitute breach of contract and violate state law. It seeks actual and punitive damages. 

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