Students who attended any of the University of Colorado’s four campuses during the spring 2020 semester are eligible to receive a small refund as a result of a class-action lawsuit announced Wednesday. The lawsuit alleged the University of Colorado should have refunded students for fees that provided services shuttered when campuses were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The university and the plaintiffs agreed on a settlement in the final stages of court approval, which would allow most students who attended all four CU campuses to claim part of a $5 million settlement fund set aside by the university.
CU denies all allegations of wrongdoing and there has been no finding of liability in any court, despite the settlement.
“If you have paid for something and you’re not getting the benefit of what you paid for it, you should get your money back,” said Igor Raykin, an attorney representing the plaintiffs in this lawsuit. “And in this particular case, CU and other schools across the country were not giving students their money back.”
The plaintiffs sued CU and Colorado State University, although the CSU lawsuit is now in front of the Colorado Court of Appeals.
The students said services and access to facilities like the recreation center, student union, museums and campus technology services weren’t being provided once campus closed. At CU Boulder, some of these programs are funded by student activity fees and are managed by the university’s student government.
Ken McConnellogue, a spokesperson for the university system, said CU’s legal counsel asked the Denver District Court to dismiss the lawsuit, which it declined to do.
“[The lawsuit] was heading toward trial when we entered into settlement talks,” McConnellogue said. “We prioritized the health and safety of our students in the university community when [COVID-19} hit by moving to remote learning. The pertinent thing is students were able to continue their educational journey.”
Now, the $5 million settlement has been agreed to by both parties and given preliminary approval by the court. As part of that approval, the university was required to send notice of the settlement to the CU Independent and other media organizations.
In the provided notice, the university said students who were “enrolled in courses at any of the university’s campuses during the spring 2020 semester,” paid tuition or fees and enrolled in classes that were not solely online, were eligible to receive a portion of the settlement fund.
A court-appointed settlement administrator will send an email to the address on file with the university for each of the students who qualify. Payments can be received through Venmo, Paypal or digital debit card, according to the university statement.
“If the email address you have on file changes or becomes invalid for any reason, it is your responsibility to provide accurate contact information to the settlement administrator to receive a payment,” the statement read.
The final approval hearing for the settlement is scheduled for July 19, at which the court will decide whether or not to approve payment of the settlement funds.
“After the signup period window opens, which will be sometime in July or August, students will have 180 days from that point forward to go ahead and sign up,” Raykin said.
However, Raykin and McConnellogue said recipients shouldn’t expect much money from a settlement payment.
“Basically, the more students sign up, the less each student gets. The less students sign up, the more each student gets. The pot of money doesn’t change,” Raykin said.
McConnellogue said the largest amount students could receive would be around $100.
More information about the class-action lawsuit can be found here. The case name is Miles Levin, et al. v. Board of Regents of the University of Colorado.
Contact CU Independent Editor-in-Chief Henry Larson at email@example.com.