Tag Archives: education

Federal Judge Dismisses COVID-Related College Tuition Refund Claims

Since the global pandemic forced most college campuses to resort to online instruction in March 2020, college students across the country have filed more than 150 lawsuits against their schools seeking refunds of tuition and related fees.

This month, a federal judge in Boston made the first dispositive ruling in such a case against Northeastern University – tossing out most of the claims asserted by the students in a putative class-action matter.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris attorney Deanna Lucci, please visit the Duane Morris UpdatED Blog.

Pennsylvania Making $10.5M Available for Career and Technical Education Centers

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is dedicating approximately $10.5 million in equity grants to Career and Technical Education Centers (CTC) to assist them in implementing public health and safety plans and help them to resume operations.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris partner Brad Molotsky, please visit the Duane Morris Project Development/Infrastructure/P3 Blog.

When Welcoming Back Students, Colleges Fear COVID-19 Spread, Class Actions Over Tuition

Colleges and universities across the country are beginning to figure out what the fall semester for students will look like. In-house counsel at the schools that have chosen to bring students back to campus full-time need to worry about furthering the spread of the new coronavirus and class action litigation over refunds for tuition, housing and service fees.

It is too early to tell how courts will rule on these kinds of lawsuits, Ed Cramp, a partner at Duane Morris in San Diego said. From his perspective, how education is delivered to a student is not something guaranteed by the university. However, the suits asking for a refund of fees for services not used could be problematic.

“The issue for the institutions is that many of them just don’t have the money. It is not a matter of, ‘Let me just write you a check,’” Cramp said.

To read the full text of this article in Corporate Counsel magazine quoting Duane Morris partner Ed Cramp, please visit law.com (subscription required).

U.S. Dept. of Education Office of Civil Rights Issues FAQ Regarding Civil Rights and Distance Learning During COVID-19

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights recently issued a FAQ in its continuing effort to address civil rights issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The new guidance focused on disability accommodations, Title IX, and harassment issues.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris attorney Bryce Young, please visit the Duane Morris UpdatED Blog.

U.S. Department of Education Makes Available CARES Act Funds for Institutions of Higher Education

On April 21, 2020, the Department made available the institutional portion of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) under Section 18004(a)(1) and 18004(c) of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

To read the full text of this blog post by Duane Morris partner Katherine Brodie, please visit the Duane Morris UpdatED Blog.

Guidance on Disability Rights and Distance Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic from OCR

On April 3, 2020, the Office for Civil Rights continued its guidance on how institutions can implement distance learning while complying with federal civil rights laws. This guidance is timely because distance learning due to COVID-19 is redefining how most educational institutions operate. When all levels of academic institutions had to close their doors due to stay-at-home orders, many of them opened the proverbial window by turning to online education. Despite its increasing popularity over the past decade or so, distance learning remains an emerging landscape for many institutions as they navigate purchasing/installing new technology, implementing new methods of teaching, and ensuring connectivity with students. OCR’s guidance provides a roadmap to this new territory.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris attorney Bryce Young, please visit the Duane Morris UpdatED Blog.

$6 Billion in Student Emergency Grants via Institutions from U.S. Department of Education

On April 9, 2020, the Secretary of Education announced the availability of more than $6 billion for immediate distribution to colleges and universities to provide direct emergency cash grants to college students through the authority of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the CARES Act.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris partner Katherine Brodie, please visit the Duane Morris UpdatED Blog.

Deadline for Public Comment on Important Distance Education Rulemaking: May 4, 2020

On April 1, the U.S. Department of Education (“USDE”) published a long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for Distance Education and Innovation in the Federal Register. The proposed regulations are the final part of the consensus negotiated rulemaking that occurred in 2019. This regulation comes at an important time as institutions across the country are transitioning to varying forms of distance education due to COVID-19, albeit temporary or longer term.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris attorney Kristina Gill, please visit the Duane Morris UpdatED Blog.

Use of Federal Grant Funds During COVID-19: U.S. Department of Education Q&A

On April 8, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education published a Q&A that answers questions related to use of Department grant funds during the novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) with respect to compensation, travel, and conference costs that are otherwise allowable costs under applicable program statutes and regulations.

Read the factsheet at the Duane Morris UpdatED Blog post by Duane Morris partner Katherine Brodie.

Updated COVID-19 Guidance for Institutions Posted by U.S. Department of Education Following Enactment of CARES Act

Late on Friday, April 3, the Department posted updated guidance for institutions that recognizes the regulatory flexibilities authorized by Congress in the CARES Act, but also addresses other areas including Clery Act,  Distance Education, Foreign Schools and FERPA, among other issues relevant to the COVID-19 interruption.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris partner Katherine Brodie, please visit the Duane Morris UpdatED Blog.