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HomenewsNj Court Dismisses Kean University Students' Claim for Reimbursements for Remote Learning

Nj Court Dismisses Kean University Students’ Claim for Reimbursements for Remote Learning

TOWNSHIP OF UNION (Union) — A court of appeals has dismissed a complaint filed by students who claimed they did not receive the on-campus experience for which they paid when Kean University shifted to fully remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the joint lawsuit, full-time undergraduate students demanded a return of tuition and other fees for the Spring 2020 term.

According to court records, the public university with more than 16,000 students charges less for its online programmes than for its on-campus lectures, which included fees for athletics, gyms, capital upgrades, and student government. The students agreed that Kean was obligated to cease its in-person courses, but that “a clear implied contract for in-person learning” existed.

In their lawsuit, the students described the spring semester remote option as substandard. According to them, the experience lacked adequate facilities, materials, and teacher access.

In court documents, they stated, “Students have been denied the chance for collaborative learning and in-person interaction, feedback, and critique.” “The remote learning options were in no way comparable to the in-person education that plaintiffs and putative class members contracted for and paid for,” the court ruled.

Friday’s court determined, however, that Kean was “immune” and protected by the Emergency Health Powers Act when it switched all classes online on March 16, 2020. The same day, Governor Murphy signed an executive order mandating that all institutions of higher education stop face-to-face instruction.

“Permitting plaintiffs to seek damages connected to these steps would contradict the intent of the legislature in allowing the executive branch the ability to take such actions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. We find no reason to undermine the aim of the legislature “the judge wrote.

The appeals court agreed with a lower court’s conclusion that Kean offered educational services and permitted undergraduates to graduate on time.

Kean also claimed that it had pledged to provide students with broad educational services, not just in-person classes. The institution added that it repaid students’ housing and meal fees for the semester.

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