Seton Hall student files lawsuit against University seeking tuition refund

A Seton Hall student has filed a potential class action lawsuit against the University alleging that it has failed to deliver “the educational services, facilities, access and/or opportunities” that students paid spring tuition for.

The three-count civil complaint, which was filed by Samuel Schoening in New Jersey federal court on Tuesday, called the University’s online offerings “subpar in practically every aspect and a shadow of what they once were” and alleges breach of contract, unjust enrichment and conversion on the part of Seton Hall.

According to University spokeswoman Laurie Pine, Seton Hall has not yet been formally notified of the complaint and does not comment on possible litigation.

“The University continues to operate under government directives and executive stay at home orders,” Pine said. “We are focused on supporting our students, faculty and community during these challenging times.”

Schoening, who hails from Lake Ozark, Missouri, is currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree in International Relations, with minors in German and Economics.

According to the complaint, he is seeking prorated tuition and fees from Seton Hall proportionate to the amount of time that classes have taken place online for himself and other class members, which could include potentially thousands of students.

Seton Hall has already refunded $9.2 million dollars to students for room, board and parking – though it is unclear just how much the University, which is heavily dependent on student tuition and fees for revenue, could stand to lose if it was forced to refund even partial tuition.

According to the University’s IRS Form 990, an annual information return for organizations claiming federal tax-exempt status, roughly 70% of the University’s $461 million in revenue came from tuition and fees for the 2018 fiscal year.  

Schoening’s case is one of dozens recently brought by students against their respective institutions seeking tuition refunds.

According to court filings, students from Drexel, Columbia, Cornell, Michigan State and several others have filed proposed class action suits against their universities all seeking tuition refunds.

Nicholas Kerr can be reached at nicholas.kerr@student.shu.edu. Find him on Twitter @nickdotkerr.

Author: Nicholas Kerr

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