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Lawsuit aims to return millions of dollars to Florida university students

The Idaho Department of Administration says the state paid more than $200,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a former University of Idaho College of Law student against the school. (Source: MGN)
The Idaho Department of Administration says the state paid more than $200,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a former University of Idaho College of Law student against the school. (Source: MGN)(KMVT)
Published: May. 7, 2020 at 5:38 PM CDT
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If you attended a Florida university during the Spring semester, money you paid for student fees could be headed back into your pocket if a class-action lawsuit filed by a University of Florida student is successful.

Universities returned housing and meal plan costs when students had to leave campus and begin online learning this Spring, but student fees weren’t included.

“That's why we felt the need to file this lawsuit,” said Anthony Rojas, who filed the lawsuit.

The suit seeks the return of millions in fees for an estimated 300,000 students who attended Florida’s 12 universities this Spring.

“They're mainly used for physical services on campus. You know, the gyms, the mental health, the health centers. All of those things. And when we can't physically use those services, we feel that's not right,” said Rojas.

Undergraduate students at UF like Anthony pay $63.47 per credit hour.

Taking the minimum 12 hours to be considered full time, it adds up to about $760.

“It gets much higher when you get into the graduate students, and the graduate students are also part of the class here,” said Attorney Matt Miller who is representing Anthony in the case.

Miller points to the fact online students aren’t generally charged student fees.

Some universities have even opted to drop fees for students who will be forced to attend Summer classes online this year due to the pandemic.

“They can't charge those fees because the students aren't there to access those services,” said Miller.

Many Florida students are out of work because of the virus and didn’t qualify for federal stimulus checks.

If successful, the money returned to students could provide much-needed relief.

We reached out to the Board of Governors and asked why student fees haven’t been returned.

We were told the board could not comment on pending litigation, but we’ll be posing the question to Governor Ron DeSantis the first chance we get.

If you're a student who attended a university in-person this Spring, you’re eligible to join the suit.

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