California's Public Universities Sued For Coronavirus-Related Refunds

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College students are demanding hundreds, even thousands of dollars in refunded campus fees from public universities across the state.

Their request is part of federal class action lawsuits filed Monday demanding coronavirus related refunds.

The class action suits are against the University of California and California State University systems.

Since the coronavirus shut down the campuses and moved classes online, the suits are demanding refunds of some unused portions of fees for campus-related services that students aren't using.

Things like health facilities, student centers and student association dues. 

San Diego State University senior Robert Delpino is worried about the interest he's paying on those fees.

"I think it's ridiculous the fact that we're still paying because I heavily rely on financial aid," he said.

The fees at UC schools start at $1,100 according to the suits. At Cal State University schools they range from $850 to $4,000.

Though a spokesperson for the UC system told NBC 7 they’d just learned of the suit and had no comment, a letter on their website reads in part: “Tuition and mandatory fees have been set regardless of the method of instruction and will not be refunded in the event that instruction occurs remotely for any part of the academic year.”

Cal State spokesman Michael Uhlenkamp issued a statement saying the complaint misstates facts.

Campuses continue to operate, and many personal services are now provided remotely, such as counseling, advising, faculty office hours, disability student services, and even telehealth medical care... Campuses will provide refunds for various categories of fees that are determined to have been unearned by the campus. These refund policies and procedures are available to all students, and requests for refunds are already being processed (remotely).

"It comes down to fairness and doing the right thing,” said one of the plaintiff’s attorneys on the case, Noel Garcia. “You pay money expecting to get certain benefits, certain services. They’ve paid for something they're not getting and should get that money back.”

Back in the hands of the students, says Claire Brandmeyer, the 24-year-old UC Davis student who’s the plaintiff in one of the cases.

“There are so many people who are losing jobs and this money could really, you know pay for the rent, for food or help them with their kids if they have kids at home," she said.

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