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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A class action lawsuit has been filed against the Arizona Board of Regents, the governing board for Arizona's three public universities, after the three schools refused to refund room, board and campus fees to students who were displaced because of coronavirus.

All three universities, Arizona State University, University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University, moved their classes to online only for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester to protect students and staff and prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

Students who lived on-campus were either told to move out or encouraged to do so. The lawsuit says the Arizona Board of Regents has refused to offer refunds for the unused portion of their room and board and their campus fees. The lawsuit seeks payment of the prorated, unused amounts of room and board and fees that the class members paid but were unable to use.

“While the universities were prudent in closing their campuses and encouraging students to vacate their on-campus housing, it is unconscionable for them to attempt to keep the many thousands of dollars in room and board feeds they collected from each student, even though they have terminated the services that these fees covered,” said Adam Levitt, partner at DiCello Levitt Gutzler, and co-counsel for the plaintiffs.

According to a press release, ASU and NAU students have not been offered any refunds. The University of Arizona has offered "nominal rent credit options" which is either 10% of 2019-2020 housing costs or 20% of 2020-2021 housing costs. The lawsuit asserts that the option offered by UArizona  is designed to drive additional revenue to the school by requiring students to commit to living on campus in future semesters.

Here is the price breakdown for room and board fees not including tuition for 2019-2020 per university:

  • UArizona - $13,350
  • ASU - $13,510
  • NAU - 10,780

“U of A has refused to return to students the full pro-rated, unused portion of their room and board payments for the semester, and a small housing credit for the next academic year is useless for any student who did not intend to live on-campus during the 2020-2021 academic year,” Levitt said.

 

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