Two Iowa colleges were sued for tuition fees during the COVID-19 pandemic

A student attending Wartburg College filed a class action lawsuit over tuition fees after “losing class time and personal resources on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic”. Student Sydney Warner filed the lawsuit in the District Court of Bremer on allegations that “the value of distance learning provided by the college was less than the value of the on-campus experience promised by the college”. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that “a portion of the tuition fees for the spring semester 2020 should be reimbursed as a result”.

Man in Mask Working on Laptop at Outdoor Table; Image by Paul Hanaoka via

Warner is represented by Bart Goplerud, an attorney with Shindler, Anderson, Goplerud & Weese and Hedin Hall LLP law firms. Commenting on the suit, Goplerud said:

“They went to campus, they expected the on campus experience and the classroom lessons. And in the middle of the semester everything changed. They went to distance learning and no longer had the basis of our claims, they no longer have access to it on campus and based on personal experience. “

Goplerud added that on March 18, a Mount Mercy University student filed a similar lawsuit in Linn District Court against Cedar Rapids University. He noted that the same firms are handling this case and that both cases are class actions. He said:

“That way, tens of thousands, hundreds, or thousands of people don’t have to file their own lawsuits. It can be brought by one person and if it is successful at the end of the day everyone will benefit financially. “

He added that many similar lawsuits have been filed since the pandemic began, and many have been dismissed because they “focused on the impact of virtual classes versus in-person classes”. Goplerud said the lawsuits against Wartburg College and Mount Mercy University are different and noted:

“It is difficult to quantify what if there is a difference from distance learning … While our lawsuit focuses on those who had library experiences on campus, the gym closed, the theater closed, other resources such as labs.” and clinics were closed and were not available to them. “

It is important to note that Wartburg College announced last July that it would be offering a “free fifth year” to full-time students in the 2020-2021 academic year. The announcement can be welcome news for students who feel like they have missed a year of study and a year of college experience. However, students like Warner are asking for more.


Students file lawsuits against Iowa colleges over tuition fees during a pandemic

Two students file class lawsuits against Iowa colleges for tuition fees after schools went online

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