Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Audrey Anderson offered her insights about the potential for college tuition refunds as many schools head back for the 2020-2021 academic year. While many students are returning to campuses across the country this fall, there is still a lot of uncertainty about COVID-19 and how the virus may impact college campuses again. Schools throughout the country are offering a mix of in-person and online courses this semester. However, many students and paying parents claim online courses do not provide the same college experience and expect tuition to be lowered or refunded should situations change to an all online format. But many institutions have publicly stated that only room and board will be refunded should students be sent home.

“I think most schools have been transparent with their students,” Audrey said. “The schools always want to be at capacity, so they want to give as many chances as possible for students to attend. They also understand that families and students are having to make really hard choices, and a lot of families are in terrible financial situations.”

“This really is a contract,” Audrey said. “The school is saying, ‘We’re offering you this kind of education and you’re paying us money, and here are the terms and conditions under which you will get that money back.'”

School officials are in a tough spot having to balance the needs of their students, the safety protocols around COVID-19, and their own financial interests, Audrey added.

The full article, “Families With College Kids: Don’t Expect Tuition Refunds If Fall Semester Goes Awry,” was published by the Times Herald-Record on September 3 and is available online.