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Undergrad sues Wash U for tuition refund after coronavirus campus shutdown

Undergrad sues Wash U for tuition refund after coronavirus campus shutdown

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First-year student Alexander Raimo is suing Washington University, seeking a refund of about $28,000 in tuition and fees for the spring semester after leaders shut down the campus in March and moved classes online because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The class-action lawsuit was filed Tuesday in federal court in St. Louis by attorney David Grebel.

Raimo is also represented by Hagens Berman, a law firm that has filed similar lawsuits since late April against Emory, Duke, George Washington, Boston, Brown and Vanderbilt universities and the University of Southern California.

Raimo, a business student, is from New Jersey and participated in clubs and intramural sports at the university, according to the lawsuit.

He enrolled at Washington University “due to the strength of its academic program, and the opportunities afforded by (the university) to interact directly with brilliant faculty and peers within the advertised small class and lecture size in the Olin Business School,” according to the lawsuit.

Since the campus shutdown, lectures have been switched to recorded videos or have been shortened. Meetings with teaching assistants have been canceled, according to the suit.

Raimo “was left learning the course material independently without the same professor, teaching assistant, and peer support experienced on campus,” the suit reads.

A representative for the university could not be reached Wednesday morning. In a COVID-19 information page on its website, the university addresses questions about tuition refunds.

“Because students will be completing their academic coursework online and receiving credit toward their degree programs, tuition will not be reimbursed,” the statement reads. “Students will continue to receive academic instruction from the same faculty members, albeit in a modified environment, for academic credit, and we will continue to provide academic support services and resources remotely.”

Washington U. was allocated $6.4 million in federal coronavirus aid, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

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