California college students fight for more refunds with class action lawsuit

Students of the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems have filed a class action lawsuit against their colleges, due to their belief that they did not receive a sufficient refund from their schools after transitioning to online classes.

The lawsuit claims that over 700,000 CSU and UC students should receive a refund for the health and service fees they paid to their universities, as they no longer have easy access to the facilities on campus from their off-campus homes. As California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) may be affected by this lawsuit in the future, some CSUMB students voiced their opinions on the matter.

Many CSUMB students were unaware of the lawsuit. Third-year student Lauren Rafter said that she didn’t “hear about the lawsuit, but thinks it’s a great idea. The quality of our education has dramatically decreased and it’s not right that we pay all this money for a mediocre education.”

Rafter said she “did get some money from school, but the amount [she] got back is not equivalent to university quality of eight weeks of online classes. I do think there needs to be action, especially if we are going to be online for Fall 2020.”

Second-year student Grace Douglas said she didn’t “hear anything about the lawsuit,” but the students involved in the lawsuit “should take as much money as they need to completely uproot their life.”

Some CSUMB students were surprised by the lawsuit, as they have already received most refunds from school.

When hearing about the class action suit, graduating student Taylor Smith said that she had “heard about some students not receiving their refunds yet, but was not aware of a lawsuit against universities regarding this issue. I believe I have received all my refunds already,” but despite some other students wanting refunds for health and service fees, Smith thinks it is “important to be patient and understanding during this unprecedented time.”

As for CSUMB student Tatiana Nunez, she believes “it’s time that the CSU system starts taking responsibility.”

Relating to her time living on campus at CSUMB, she said the students partaking in the lawsuit “are doing the right thing. One reason I have for this goes back to Spring 2019,” when both her roommates paid a $200 fee to keep their East Campus apartment, but when they found out the fee only applied for newly arriving students, they “emailed East Campus for a refund, but were denied. They didn’t see a dime of that money back.”

It’s experiences like this one that led Nunez to think “the lawsuit is necessary only if both parties can sit down and come to some compromise” about what a refund should look like.

As the class action lawsuit was filed only a couple weeks ago, the effect it will have on the CSU and UC system will be seen in the near future.

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