The University of Pennsylvania has established a settlement fund of $4.5 million to resolve a breach-of-contract class action lawsuit with its students relating to insufficient refunds during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The settlement class is defined as all students enrolled after March 17, 2020, in any University of Pennsylvania program who were assessed spring 2020 fees and were not enrolled for the spring 2020 semester solely in a program that, at the beginning of that semester, was intended to be an online program.
The University of Pennsylvania — a private research, Ivy League university founded in 1740 — canceled in-person classes during the pandemic in 2020 and shut down facilities. Many students sought refunds, but the university made a “decision to not issue appropriate refunds,” according to the lawsuit.
A class action lawsuit claimed students paid fees and tuition with the expectation of in-person instruction and other such activities and facilities that were unavailable during the pandemic. In establishing the fund, the university is not conceding liability or fault.
The lawsuit argued there are many options for online learning at universities across the country, but students paid tuition at the University of Pennsylvania with the expectation of in-person instruction and facility access. Among the complaints made were that students lost: interaction with professors, mentors and peers; access to computer labs, laboratories and libraries; student governance; extra-curricular activities; hands-on learning and experimentation; and student and peer networking. among other experiences.
The lawsuit also stated mandatory fees at the university totaled more than $3,300 in the spring semester that year, which pays for activities, services, and spaces.
Under the terms of the University of Pennsylvania tuition fees settlement, students will receive a pro rata payment. Attorneys’ fees, administrative fees and other expenses will be deducted from the settlement fund before settlement payments are distributed.
Class members who the University of Pennsylvania projects will have at least one full semester to complete in their respective program as of 60 days after the settlement’s effective date will have a credit automatically issued to their Penn Student Account.
Those who will not have a semester to complete will receive their payment by mail at the last known mailing dress on file with the university’s registrar. However, these class members do have the option to fill out an information form to provide an updated address or elect to receive their payment via Venmo or PayPal. The deadline for making these changes or selections is 60 days after the settlement’s effective date.
The deadline to opt out of or object to the settlement is Dec. 19, 2022.
A final approval hearing is scheduled for Jan. 17, 2023.
Those included in the settlement class do not have to do anything to obtain their portion of the settlement.
Settlement class is defined as all students enrolled after March 17, 2020, in any University of Pennsylvania program who were assessed spring 2020 fees and were not enrolled for the spring 2020 semester solely in a program that, at the beginning of that semester, was intended to be an online program.
Proof of Purchase
No proof of purchase applicable
No claim form applicable
NOTE: If you do not qualify for this settlement do NOT file a claim.
Remember: you are submitting your claim under penalty of perjury. You are also harming other eligible Class Members by submitting a fraudulent claim. If you’re unsure if you qualify, please read the FAQ section of the Settlement Administrator’s website to ensure you meet all standards (Top Class Actions is not a Settlement Administrator). If you don’t qualify for this settlement, check out our database of other open class action settlements you may be eligible for.
Asha Smith and Emma Nedley, et al. v. University of Pennsylvania, Civil Action No. 20-2086, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
University Covid Refund Settlement
c/o A.B. Data, Ltd.
P.O. Box 170500
Milwaukee, WI 53217
Edward W Ciolko
LYNCH CARPENTER LLP
POULIN WILLEY ANASTOPOULO LLC
Michael L Kidney
HOGAN LOVELLS US LLP