Former Student Seeks Refund From SMU

A former SMU graduate student filed a potential class-action lawsuit against the university last week, alleging the university didn’t meet its “obligation to provide in-person educational services along with other experiences, opportunities, and services” students paid for after they transitioned to virtual learning during the spring semester because of COVID-19.

Luke Hogan of Keller, who graduated after the spring semester, filed the lawsuit in Dallas County District Court on behalf of himself and “others similarly situated” who paid tuition and fees that semester. Hogan was charged about $25,000 in tuition and fees during the spring semester, according to court documents. The lawsuit claims SMU was unable to provide in-person educational experiences, services, and opportunities for about 59% of the spring 2020 semester.

The average tuition cost for both in-state and out-of-state residents was approximately $37,955 for the spring semester, according to court records.

In the suit, Hogan is seeking a pro-rata refund of tuition and fees “for in-person educational services as well as other marketed collegiate experiences and services that were not provided” for himself and class members.

SMU announced on its website in the spring that the university would offer credit adjustments for housing, dining, and parking expenses in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but not for tuition or general student fees.

SMU told NBC5 in response to a question about why those fees weren’t waived that the university is “making adjustments to deal with a large budget gap created by COVID-19.”

The credit adjustments varied depending on student situation, but ranged from about 36% to 37.5% of the total semester’s charges for housing, meal plans, and student parking, according to the university’s website.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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