University of Missouri agrees to $1.65 million settlement in student COVID-19 lawsuit
Lindenwood University on Wednesday agreed in a lawsuit from a group of students who felt the shift to online learning during COVID-19 was “subpar.”
As part of the settlement, student attorneys will receive $550,000 and Lindenwood University’s nearly 6,000 students will each receive about $185, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
US District Judge Ronnie L. White approved the class action settlement, which was presided over by Lindenwood University student Dylan Martin.
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Students attending the university will receive the payment as a credit to their account, while alumni who do not owe the university any payments will receive a direct cash payment, the report said.
The students filed the lawsuit in August 2020, alleging that Lindenwood University broke its contract with them when it switched to online learning early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Compared to in-person learning, students claimed that online learning “underperformed in virtually every aspect,” adding that they overpaid for the tuition as online tuition is cheaper, according to the report.
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The original lawsuit sought $5 million in refunds to students.
According to the report, Lindenwood University previously sought to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing to the judge that Missouri courts have no jurisdiction to determine whether or not a student’s education is appropriate.
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Other college students in Missouri have filed similar lawsuits, but have not been as successful.
Students at Washington University in St. Louis filed a similar class-action lawsuit, which a federal judge dismissed in March.