Class action lawsuit filed against Drexel University seeks refund of tuition, fees

A Drexel University student has filed a class action lawsuit against the college demanding a refund for tuition and other fees for the Spring 2020 semester that was disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Grainger Rickenbacker, the filing plaintiff, is a full-time student at Drexel University and hails from South Carolina. He asserts that he and other students paid for services that were not delivered by their school. The form of those payments were tuition costs and other related expenses.


The lawsuit, which was filed April 8, notes that the Class is considered to be “ All students who are enrolled the 2020 academic year, and who have paid tuition, mandatory fees, or voluntary fees for privilege failed to provide, and whose tuition and fees have not been refunded.”

Court documents show that Rickenbacker contests the university’s inability to provide sufficient instruction as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – particularly in that students paid for an on-campus, in-classroom experience and that remote learning does not meet the criteria that Drexel University claimed it would provide its students. 

With more than 100 Class members pursuing the lawsuit, Drexel University stands to owe a total amount exceeding $5 million, not including interest and legal costs, if held responsible.

A significant portion of the fees relate to face-to-face activities ranging from student unions, computer labs, study rooms, extracurricular activities and more. Now, due to campus shutdowns, those activities are not being held.

According to those documents, mandatory fees amounted to $2,405.

Rickenbacker’s lawsuit states that not only will students be “deprived of the benefits of on campus learning” but that any value of a degree will be greatly diminished due to the nature of pass/fail courses. 

In an official statement, Drexel University claimed "The University remains committed to providing students with a challenging and engaging academic — and social — experience, utilizing an array of creative digital tools to keep connected to their professors and to each other. The University is aware of the court filing and has no further comment on the pending litigation. "


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