EUGENE, Ore.-- University of Oregon students are reacting to the class action lawsuits filed against their school and Oregon State University claiming that the tuition and fees during the COVID-19 pandemic were unjust.
"I think it's a valid point. We're not getting half the experience we'd normally get," UO student Francesca Norton said.
Caine Smith filed the suit against Oregon. Danielle Pranger and Garrett Harris filed the complaint against Oregon State. The amount students are asking for has not yet been specified.
Steve Berman, the attorney that is representing the lawsuit, said students were unfairly charged.
“So much of a college student’s educational experience involves hands-on, in-person access to campus events, facilities, instruction and collaboration,” Berman said. "The University of Oregon, we believe, has unfairly continued to charge tuition payers for all of the things they were not allowed to experience and use during the COVID-19 campus closure and switch to online classes. In our opinion, they deserve repayment."
But administrators at the colleges claim that the lawsuit is wrong on facts and that costs have increased amidst the pandemic due to technological reasons.
In a statement, the University of Oregon said:
“Despite what the lawsuit suggests, the university’s costs for delivering instruction have not decreased as a result of the pandemic. In fact, our costs have increased due to a variety of new technology and infrastructure investments."
UO students told KEZI they understood the argument of extra costs due to moving online at the beginning of the pandemic, but now it's not as valid.
"It's been a year now. I think most schools have adapted," UO student Ava Frazzetta said.
Some UO students attributed the rise in tuition fees to other reasons.
"I think they just need money because our school is losing a lot," UO student Giullian Galindo said. "A lot of kids are taking gap years and there are no sports events and I know that brings a lot of money to the schools."
In the complaint against OSU, students allege before the pandemic the college charged much lower tuition for remote students using the “Ecampus” program. But when the in-person students were forced to go online, they continued to be charged the full in-person tuition, the lawsuit claims.
Spokesman Steve Clark said OSU prorated charges for room and board.
There are over 200 similar lawsuits filed across the country.