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Boston College student latest to file one of those lawsuits over the shift from classrooms to online lessons

A Boston College junior is hoping to become the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking partial tuition reimbursement for the way her school shut classrooms in March and moved students to online classes.

In a suit filed this week in US District Court in Boston, Anilda Rodrigues acknowledges that BC had little choice but to shut its classrooms, but says it's unfair that students are being made to bear the full brunt of that decision:

While the effects of the COVID-19 crisis are shared by all individuals and institutions across the country, BC has failed to apportion the burden in an equitable manner or consistent with its obligations as an educational institution.

Her suit alleges that while previously on-campus students had to pay $1,968 per credit, undergraduates taking online classes by choice only had to pay $534.

For each credit hour in the Spring 2020 semester, students like Plaintiff received less than half of the promised academic hours of “classroom or direct faculty instruction.”

Though BC could no longer provide the remaining hours of “contact time” instruction per credit hour, BC demanded that students pay the full tuition price.

Students like Plaintiff also received dramatically less than the promised hours of additional “hours of out of class student work” per credit hour.

Similarly, students like Plaintiff paid fees for services and access to facilities and equipment over the full semester. Though BC provided these services and facility/equipment access for only part of the semester, and could not provide them for the full semester, BC demanded that students pay fees for the entire semester.

The suit alleges that the school and Rodrigues had a contract:

Plaintiff and Class members entered into a contract with BC whereby, in exchange for the payment of tuition, fees and other related costs, BC would provide an agreed-upon number of classes through in-person instruction and access to physical resources and school facilities such as libraries, laboratories, and classrooms.

Since the shift to online, students at several other Boston-area schools have filed similar suits, including at Northeastern, BU, Suffolk, Brandeis and Harvard.

In its response to one of the suits, BU says it should be thrown out because Massachusetts bars suits over "educational malpractice" - and because it says it didn't have any sort of contract with students.

PDF icon Complete complaint300.46 KB



Why should students have to pay all the same costs when universities can't offer the same level of education they had agreed to provide?

Voting closed 41

The value of the degree/diploma the student will eventually receive is the same in the job market. It's still a degree from Boston College.

Voting closed 29

How many civil engineers are your going to trust over at MassDOT when they say I got my engineering degree circa 2020-2022?

I'd get a triple check on that bridge load design first.

Voting closed 22

But I've been on the hiring team for a lot of people with college degrees, and I can't remember ever looking at what years they got them. If anything, someone able to put in the work to get a engineering degree during this time shows that they work well remotely, under stress, and in unexpected conditions, which are all pluses as far as I'm concerned.

Voting closed 48

...at BC

Voting closed 16

Just purchase a degree for the low, low price of 200 grand and screw classes.

Voting closed 44

"[BU] says it didn't have any sort of contract with students."

Isn't there a principle of an implied contract? What exactly are you paying for if not the standard classes the university provides? Could they just decide not to provide any classes if they feel like it, and oh well because there's no written contract saying they have to?

Voting closed 36